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What Happens After a Conviction of DWI or DUI?

Although most driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in Georgia are classified as misdemeanors rather than felonies, the penalties for DUI convictions in the state are typically more severe than for other types of misdemeanors. The specific penalties you face may differ depending on the circumstances of the case, but all Georgia DUI convictions come with mandatory jail time.

Take a first-offense DUI as an example. On your first conviction, you would lose your driver’s license for a year and face a jail sentence of at least 24 hours if your blood alcohol content was .08 percent or higher. Because this is a misdemeanor under Georgia law, the incarceration can last as long as one year.

The minimum fine for a first Georgia DUI conviction is $300, with a maximum of $1,000. You will also be placed on probation for a year and required to perform 40 hours of community service. Moreover, state law requires motorists convicted of DUI to participate in an alcohol or drug risk assessment program and to pay the associated costs.

Potential penalties escalate with each successive DUI conviction. A fourth conviction within a 10-year period is classified as a felony under Georgia law and can trigger a five-year sentence.

Other consequences

The consequences of being convicted for DUI in Georgia extend far beyond the specific penalties. Long after all your fines are paid off and your probation has been completed, numerous professional and financial challenges can arise.

The following are a few of the potential complications a DUI offender could face:

  • An increase in auto insurance premiums or the potential cancellation of an existing insurance policy
  • Difficulty or outright inability to rent a vehicle from a commercial rental company
  • Restricted ability to purchase or maintain life, health, or disability insurance
  • Potential loss of a professional license, especially if you are a doctor, lawyer, nurse, airplane pilot, commercial driver, or stockbroker
  • Impaired ability to obtain future employment or acceptance into an academic program such as undergraduate or graduate school
  • Restricted ability to acquire or maintain possession of a firearm
  • Restricted ability to travel beyond the United States (Canada, for instance, has very strict laws on eligibility to enter the country if previously convicted of a DUI offense)
  • General stigma among friends, family members, and the public, especially if you’re a public figure

For further guidance on how to approach a DUI defense case in Georgia, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the law office of James D. Michael, P.C.