During this year alone, more than 200,000 people in Georgia will be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. In the Atlanta region alone, more than 20,000 people will end up behind bars for a DUI. Yet even though the state of Georgia sees 200,000 DUI arrests annually, only about 32,000 people will actually be convicted of DUI charges. Even worse, almost 12,000 people are killed by drunk drivers each year, which means being pulled over by the police could have been a blessing in disguise, although we know it doesn’t feel that way when you’re the one in the driver’s seat.
Many people arrested for a DUI in Decatur or other Atlanta suburbs are in trouble with the law for the first time in their life. After a first time DUI arrest, most people have a number of burning questions. Will my employers find out about my arrest? Will my name appear in the paper? How can I have DUI charges dismissed? How much will this DUI cost me? How do I make all of this just go away?
Our Decatur DUI attorneys hear questions like these on a daily basis. Sometimes these questions have easy answers, but there are often no guarantees following a DUI arrest. Georgia courts and police take these cases very seriously, and if a driver blows over a 0.08% BAC on a breathalyzer test, it can be difficult to avoid a conviction, even for first time offenders.
At Pak and McRae Law, LLC, we start every case by listening carefully to your side of the story. While some serial DUI offenders suffer from a drug or alcohol abuse disorder, many more are otherwise law abiding citizens who made a mistake. Don’t go through this alone; contact the compassionate criminal defense attorneys of Pak and McRae Law, LLC as soon as you can.
FAQ: The Most Common Questions About First DUI Offenses Answered
How much will my first DUI offense cost me in Georgia?
If you were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, or if you refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, then there is something you should know: In addition to the criminal charges, jail time, fines, probation, and driver’s license suspension, even a first time DUI offense can cost $20,000 or more.
In 2009, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities estimated that a first DUI offense will cost an average of $10,000 or more. Many DUI attorneys believe that’s actually a low figure. According to some estimates, a first time DUI arrest with no accident costs between $9,000 and $24,000.
That’s because—in addition to financial penalties (in Georgia fines go up to $1,000)—DUI offenders also face long term costs, including:
- Temporary loss of income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Court costs, bail, and DUI program fees
- Car towing and impound fees
- Increased car insurance rates
- Ignition interlock device installation
- License reinstatement fees
- Blood, urine, and other drug testing fees
In DUI cases involving accidents or injury, those costs can quickly skyrocket.
What are the fines for a DUI offense in Georgia?
In addition to the other financial costs you’ll face, a conviction or guilty plea can result in fines ranging from $300 to $1,000.
Can you go to jail in Atlanta for a first DUI offense? Can I get jail time for a misdemeanor DUI conviction? What are the penalties for a first time drinking and driving charge?
Yes, yes, and if found guilty, you could spend as little as one day in jail or up to a year. You could also be required to take mandatory alcohol, drug, or DUI education programs. If you are arrested for another DUI in the next 10 years then you will face much harsher consequences.
Do you need to go to driver’s education after a DUI?
Yes. If convicted, you will be required to attend a DUI, Alcohol, and Drug Use Risk Reduction Course and pay for the associated fees, which total $335. These courses require 20 hours of study and usually take at least one weekend to complete. In addition, you may also face community service requirements.
What happens to your driver’s license after a DUI arrest? How can you get your license reinstated after a DUI arrest?
Following a DUI offense in Georgia, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 12 months; however, you can apply for driver’s license reinstatement after three to six months. If you refused to take a field sobriety test, your license will be suspended for one year. In order to qualify for reinstatement, you must obtain a Certificate of Completion for a state approved DUI, Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction program. You will also have to pay a reinstatement fee of $200.
Can I have my DUI charges dismissed or expunged?
There are no guarantees in situations like this. That being said, some first time DUI defendants have been able to have their charges reduced or dismissed altogether. In some cases, defendants can plead guilty or nolo contendere to a lesser charge.
If you or someone in your family was recently arrested for their first DUI in Georgia, it is crucial to consult local DUI attorneys to review all of your options. The Decatur DUI attorneys at Pak and McRae Law, LLC will meet with you to determine the best way to move forward with your case. Contact us today.