Accidents in which the driver drank alcohol or used drugs spike during the holiday season, especially on New Year’s Eve. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 300 people die in a DUI accident every year between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Before you ring in the new year, make sure that you know about the potential penalties for a drunk driving arrest in Georgia.

First-time DUI

Georgia has an implied consent law, which means that you must submit to a sobriety test if an officer pulls you over for driving under the influence. He or she can arrest you for DUI if you have a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08% or display obvious impairment even with a lower BAC measure.

Drivers with no prior DUI convictions can receive a sentence of:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • 40 hours of community service
  • Fines from $300 to $1,000
  • A one-year license suspension and a $210 reinstatement fee when the suspension ends

Second DUI 

If you receive another DUI fewer than five years after the first, penalties increase accordingly. These may include:

  • At least 48 hours and up to one year in jail
  • At least 30 days of community service
  • Fines of $600 to $1,000
  • Three-year license suspension
  • Mandatory substance abuse evaluation and treatment at your own expense if this screening indicates addiction

Third DUI 

A subsequent DUI within five years of the first two offenses carries these possible penalties:

  • At least 15 days and up to one year in jail
  • At least 30 days of community service
  • Fines of $1,000 to $5,000
  • Five-year license suspension
  • Mandatory substance abuse evaluation and treatment at your own expense if this screening indicates addiction

In addition, you must pay to have your photo and name published in your local newspaper as a habitual offender. Refusal to take a breath or blood test at the scene carries a one-year license suspension on top of other penalties.

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