Penalties for Georgia impaired and drunk driving

It has been stated before, but is worth stating again: Georgia takes driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol seriously. The penalties for being adjudicated guilty can vary in severity and have negative long term consequences on a citizen's ability to earn a living.

The penalty for impaired driving varies, depending on the number of times an individual has been charged with a particular offense. First time offenders have the lowest severity of punishment. A first time offender may face jail for a maximum of one year. A fine can range from $300 to a maximum of $1,000. One of the most severe penalties for first time offenders is the suspension of a license to drive a vehicle for up to one year. Once a license is reinstated, a defendant must pay a $210 reinstatement fee to legally drive.

A second offense that occurs within five years of the first offense has stiff penalties. There is a mandatory 48 hours in jail and up to one year in jail. The fine ranges from $600 to $1,000. Instead of one year license suspension, a license can be suspended for three years. These defendants are also subject to the $210 license reinstatement fee, as well as a clinical evaluation and possible substance abuse treatment.

Anyone found guilty of a third offense within five years of the second offense, faces a minimum of 15 days in jail. This fine ranges from $1,000 to $5,000. A drivers' license would be revoked for five years. A defendant may be subjected to public ridicule because his or her name, photo and license plate number will be reported in the local paper. These offenders also face mandatory clinical evaluation and substance abuse treatment.

Source: GAHighwaysafety.org, "Georgia's Impaired Driving Laws & Penalties," accessed on Aug. 10, 2015

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