DWI and DUI Crimes & Penalties in Valdosta

DUI Crimes & Penalties in Valdosta

In the State of Georgia, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is treated as a serious offense. State law makes it illegal for any person 21 years of age or older to drive a motor vehicle when their blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage is 0.08% or higher.   If you happen to be under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. Moreover, it is illegal to operate a commercial vehicle in Georgia with a BAC percentage of 0.04% or higher.

It is important to understand that even if your BAC is below the 0.08% legal limit, you can still be convicted of a DUI in Georgia. State law provides that a person may not drive a vehicle when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs “to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.” This means that if you have consumed alcohol or drugs, a police officer can arrest you if the officer believes that the alcohol or drugs rendered you a less safe driver. This is true even if you have a valid medical prescription for the drugs you have consumed; Georgia DUI law (O.C.G.A. 40-6-391(b)) specifically provides that being “legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute a defense against [a DUI] charge.” Because the state grants law enforcement such broad discretion in DUI cases, it is important to consult with an experienced defense attorney if you have been arrested for drunk driving in Valdosta or anywhere else in the state.

Administrative Sanctions & Criminal Penalties

If you violate Georgia’s DUI laws you will face both administrative and criminal proceedings. These proceedings will take place separately from one another and you will be subject to administrative and criminal penalties.

Georgia DDS Administrative Sanctions

If you are charged with a DUI/DWI in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) will take action to suspend your license. The length of the suspension will depend upon whether it is a first or subsequent DUI offense.

  • First Offense. License suspension for up to one year.
  • Second Offense. License suspension for up to three years.
  • Third Offense. License revocation for five years.
  • First Refusal to Submit to Testing. License suspension for one year.
  • Second Refusal to Submit to Testing. License suspension for three years.
  • Third Refusal to Submit to Testing. License suspension for five years.

If you are arrested for a DUI you will need to take quick action to protect your driving privileges. In Georgia, you only have 10 business days from the date of your DUI arrest to contest your license suspension. The Georgia DDS process can be challenging and you should not attempt to handle it alone. As an experienced Valdosta drunk driving lawyer, Gus Soto will guide you through the administrative process and outline the legal options that may be available to you.

Criminal Penalties

If you are charged with a DUI in Georgia you will face serious criminal penalties, in addition to license suspension.   Similar to the administrative sanctions, your fines and jail sentence will depend upon whether you are a first time or repeat DUI offender.

  • First Offense
    • Up to one year in jail
    • Fine of $300-$1,000
  • Second Offense
    • Up to one year in jail
    • Fine of $600-$1,000
  • Third Offense
    • Up to one year in jail
    • Fine of $1,000-$5,000
  • Fourth Offense
    • One to five years in jail
    • Fine of up to $5,000

In most cases, driving under the influence in Georgia will constitute a misdemeanor offense. However, when certain extenuating circumstances exist, a DUI can be charged as a felony offense. For example, if you have multiple DUI offenses on your record or caused an accident that resulted in serious injuries, significant property damage or death, you can be charged with a felony.

Contact Valdosta DUI Lawyer Gus Soto Today

If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Georgia, you will face serious consequences. Attorney Gus Soto offers free consultations to individuals in Valdosta, and across South Georgia and North Florida. Contact Gus Soto today by calling 1-888-440-7686 or by completing the online contact form.