Drivers who have been charged with a DUI in our state should be aware of the serious consequences that may await them if they are convicted. Under Georgia Code, Section 40-6-391, drivers can violate DUI law by driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher (DUI per se) or driving under the influence according to the arresting officer (DUI).

For a DUI per se, the court will presume that the accused was drunk driving, or driving under the influence, based on the BAC level of 0.08 or higher, unless the defense attorney proves otherwise. For a DUI, the District Attorney will need to prove that the accused was operating a vehicle while impaired. Keep in mind that drivers with BAC levels under 0.08 can still be charged with a DUI, if the officer finds they were impaired due to signs of intoxication or failed field sobriety tests.

If a driver is convicted of a DUI, they could face a number of administrative and criminal penalties. On an administrative level, the driver could face a suspension or revocation of their license. Drivers who refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer or chemical test to determine their BAC level will face an automatic one-year license suspension. On a criminal level, the driver could face significant fines, jail time and community service.

Generally, first time offenders will face up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, 40 hours of community service, a DUI education course and probation. Drivers with more serious circumstances surrounding their DUI charge (e.g., high BAC level), or drivers with multiple DUI convictions on their records, will likely face harsher penalties.