Georgia DUI Laws and Penalties 2024 Explained

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Georgia that carries significant legal consequences. Understanding Georgia DUI laws and penalties is crucial for both residents and visitors, especially if one is ever charged with a DUI.

What Is a DUI?

In Georgia, as in all other states, driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or controlled substance is a crime. If you are noticeably impaired due to ingesting a substance, you legally should not drive. DUI laws are created to prevent impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs. In Georgia, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if:

  • You have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
  • You are under the influence of any alcohol, drug, or controlled substance to the extent that it is less safe for you to drive.
  • You have any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance in your blood or urine.

For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is 0.04% and for drivers under the age of 21, the limit is 0.02%.

Implied Consent Law

The Implied Consent Law in Georgia means that anyone who operates a motor vehicle within the state has implicitly agreed to submit to chemical tests of their breath, blood, urine, or other bodily substances if they are suspected of a DUI. Refusal to submit to these tests can lead to automatic penalties, including the suspension of your license.

DUI Penalties in Georgia

The penalties for a DUI conviction in Georgia vary based on the number of prior offenses and the specifics of the incident. Generally, penalties are higher if the DUI offender has more offenses.

For a first DUI offense, penalties include fines ranging from $300 to $1,000, jail time from 10 days to 12 months, and a license suspension of up to one year. Additionally, offenders must complete at least 40 hours of community service and attend a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.

Second offenses within ten years include fines of $600 to $1,000, jail time from 90 days to 12 months (minimum of 72 hours), and a three-year license suspension. Offenders are also required to perform at least 30 days of community service and install an ignition interlock device for at least 12 months upon license reinstatement.

For a third DUI offense within ten years, fines range from $1,000 to $5,000, jail time is from 120 days to 12 months (minimum of 15 days), and the license is suspended for five years. Community service of at least 30 days is required, along with mandatory DUI school attendance and an ignition interlock device.

A fourth DUI offense is classified as a felony, carrying fines of $1,000 to $5,000, jail time from one to five years (minimum of 90 days), and an indefinite license suspension. Offenders face additional consequences, such as being declared habitual violators, and can even lose their vehicle.

A DUI conviction can have long-lasting effects beyond fines, jail time, and license suspension. It can impact employment opportunities, result in increased insurance premiums, and lead to social stigma.

Aggravated DUI

Certain circumstances can elevate a DUI to an aggravated DUI, which carries harsher penalties. Aggravated DUIs have certain factors present. These include:

  • Causing serious injury or death while driving under the influence
  • Having a minor in the vehicle
  • Driving with a suspended license

Defending Against a DUI Charge

Several defenses can be used to contest a DUI charge in Georgia. These might include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of the BAC test, or the procedures followed by law enforcement. A DUI attorney can help navigate these defenses and potentially diminish the penalties.


Q: What Is the Penalty for a First DUI in Georgia?

A: For a first-time DUI in Georgia, penalties include a potential misdemeanor conviction, 10 days to 12 months in jail, fines of up to $1,000, minimum community service, and a license suspension. A defendant may also be required to participate in DUI classes and serve probation. The specific penalties will depend on the circumstances of the case.

Q: What Is the 3-Hour Rule for DUI in Georgia?

A: The 3-hour rule for a DUI in Georgia relates to the timing of chemical testing for DUI. In Georgia, if a person is suspected of a DUI, the state must perform the chemical test (breath, blood, or urine) within three hours of driving or being in control of the vehicle. This helps ensure that the results of the test accurately reflect the driver’s BAC or drug levels at the time of driving.

Q: What Is the 30-Day Rule for DUI in Georgia?

A: The “30-day rule” for DUI in Georgia refers to the suspension of a driver’s license following a DUI arrest. After being charged with a DUI, the driver has 30 days to request an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing to contest the suspension. Failing to request this hearing within 30 days can result in an automatic license suspension.

Q: How Can a DUI Conviction Impact My Life Beyond the Legal Penalties?

A: Beyond legal penalties, a DUI conviction can have a significant impact on your life. Your car insurance premiums are likely to increase after a DUI conviction. A conviction can also make it more difficult to secure employment. If enrolled in school, some institutions, like colleges and universities, can take disciplinary action for such convictions. It can also affect your eligibility for financial aid.

Q: What Should I Do If I’m Charged With a DUI in Georgia?

A: If you are charged with a DUI in Georgia, the main thing to remember is to remain calm. You may exercise your right to remain silent, but you also want to remain cooperative with law enforcement, such as providing basic information about yourself. You want to seek and secure legal counsel as soon as possible. They can assist you in the most appropriate course of action and guide you through the next steps of the process.

Contact Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C., Today

Georgia’s DUI laws can be tough. The penalties for DUI offenses can be severe, especially for repeat offenders, and they can include a combination of fines, jail time, community service, license suspension, and mandatory education programs. Understanding these laws can help you make informed decisions and avoid serious consequences connected to a DUI conviction. If you’re faced with a DUI charge, seeking legal counsel is essential. Contact the attorneys at Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C., today for more information.