Is a first DUI charge serious?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2022 | criminal defense

You know drunk driving is a serious offense with harsh penalties, but you may wonder if that is true for first-time offenders.

Georgia courts determine sentencing based on the number of prior DUI offenses on your record. However, even a first offense can have serious consequences.

DUI laws in Georgia

It is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of an automobile when your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher. The percentages are lower if you are under 21 or drive a commercial vehicle. If you face DUI charges, it is vital to understand the state’s laws, rules and regulations. Knowing your legal rights helps you defend yourself in court.

Driving under the influence penalties

You can face strict consequences that affect many areas of your daily life. First-time DUI offenders can face:

  • Costly fines, starting at $300
  • Jail time up to ten days
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Required substance abuse counseling
  • DUI education classes
  • Community service hours
  • Up to one year of probation

Other consequences

If a DUI charge becomes a conviction, the resulting impact may affect your ability to seek higher education, job prospects, loan options and other aspects of your life. Knowing how to defend yourself against these charges is vital to protecting your future. A thorough understanding of state laws, court procedures and the strengths and weaknesses of your case helps you get the outcome you desire in your case.

A DUI charge is a serious crime, even with no prior convictions. It can be a costly mistake to think that a first-time drunk driving offense is no big deal. Know your rights and defense options to avoid severe penalties.