Georgia Drunk Driving Laws
When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Georgia?
- Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In Georgia, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
- Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .02 or more.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Georgia
- First-time offenders face a term of imprisonment of 10 days to 12 months. They must also pay a fine ranging from $300 to $1,000. Additionally, first-time offenders must perform at least 40 hours of community service work and complete a DUI program. The driver’s license revocation period is 12 months. At the end of 120 days, the offender may apply for reinstatement.
- For a second conviction within a five-year period, the prison term is 90 days to 12 months, and the fine is between $600 and $1,000. These offenders must also perform at least 30 days of community service work, complete a DUI program, and undergo a clinical consultation. A probationary period of 12 months (less days served) is also required. The driver’s license revocation period is three years. At the end of 18 months, the offender may apply for reinstatement.
- For a third or subsequent conviction within a ten-year period, the prison term is 120 days to 12 months, and the fine is between $1,000 and $5,000. These offenders must also perform at least 30 days of community service work, complete a DUI program, and undergo a clinical consultation. A probationary period of 12 months (less days served) is also required. A person who commits a third offense will be declared a “habitual violator.” When a habitual violator is arrested and charged with DUI, the offender’s vehicle is subject to forfeiture. Additionally, the offender’s driver’s license will be revoked. At the end of five years, the offender may apply for reinstatement. A clinical consultation is required as is completion of a substance abuse program, if recommended as part of the consultation.
- A fourth conviction carries a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 and between one and 5 years' incarceration (all of which but 90 days may be suspended, stayed or probated). Sixty days of community service is required as is a clinical consultation and possible enrollment in a substance abuse program.
- Other Drunk Driving Penalties
- What is Georgia's Dram Shop Act?
- What is Georgia’s “Furnishing Alcoholic Beverages to Minor Children” Statute?
- Criminal Penalties for Furnishing Alcohol to a Person Under 21
Additional Penalties for DUI While Transporting a Child Under 14
A person who commits a DUI while transporting a child under 14 is guilty of the separate offense of endangering a child by driving under the influence. First and second-time violators of this law are subject to up to 12 months in prison, payment of a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Those who commit a third or subsequent offense are subject to one to three years in prison, payment of a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, or both.
A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent DUI within a five-year period is required to use an ignition interlock device as a condition of probation for one year. This one year period begins after expiration of the driver’s license revocation period. At the end of one year, the offender may apply for full reinstatement of driving privileges.
In addition to other penalties that may apply under Georgia’s DUI laws, a person who holds a commercial driver’s license and is convicted of DUI for the first time will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least one year. If, however, the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is at least three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life, which may or may not be reduced to a period of not less than 10 years.
School Bus Drivers
In addition to other penalties that may apply, a school bus driver who is convicted of DUI while driving a school bus is subject to a term of imprisonment of between ten days and 12 months, probation for the remainder of the 12 months, if imprisonment is less than the maximum; a fine between $300 and $1,000; 40 hours of community service; completion of a required DUI program; and a clinical consultation. Penalties increase for second, third, and fourth violations within a ten-year period.
Drivers Under 21
Underage drivers with BAC of .02 or higher, on first or second conviction, commit misdemeanors, punishable by up to $1,000 and not more than 12 months confinement in a state probation detention center or diversion center. Third and subsequent violations are punishable with the same penalties adults are subject to. Underage offenders may, however, be permitted to serve any prison term imposed on weekends in a county jail. Additionally, any period of community service work imposed must be completed within 60 day of sentencing.
What is Georgia’s Dram Shop Act?
Under Georgia’s Dram Shop Act, a licensed drinking establishment may be liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated person in two circumstances. The first is where the drinking establishment served alcohol to an underage person with knowledge that the person was underage and with knowledge that the person would soon be driving. The second circumstance is where the drinking establishment served alcohol to a noticeably intoxicated person with knowledge that that person would soon be driving. Under Georgia law, those who buy and drink alcohol are not permitted to recover damages from a drinking establishment if they injure themselves as a result of their own intoxication.
What is Georgia’s “Furnishing Alcoholic Beverages to Minor Children” Statute?
Under this statute, parents have a right of action against any person who sells or gives their child alcohol without the parents’ permission. Georgia’s Dram Shop Act does not preclude this cause of action, so long as the damages sought are for injury to peace, happiness, or feelings.
Criminal Penalties for Furnishing Alcohol to a Person Under 21
Under Georgia law, any person who furnishes alcohol to a minor is subject, upon first conviction, to a term of imprisonment of up to six months, payment of a fine of up to $300, or both.
Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.
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