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How serious is a DUI conviction in Georgia?

Operating any motor vehicle comes with some risk. Because they are generally massive and moving at high speeds, vehicles have the potential to cause significant damage if they are handled poorly. To keep people as safe as possible, there are many laws that are designed to keep drivers attentive and alert.

However, being alert is much more difficult, if not impossible, when a driver is impaired. An impaired driver has a much higher probability of causing damage and harm to others. To deter this, the state of Georgia has strict laws and penalties for drivers who operate vehicles while intoxicated.

What counts as impairment?

If you are driving unsafely because of the presence of drugs and/or alcohol in your system, you are considered impaired. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08%, but it is important to know that you can be convicted of a DUI even if your BAC is below this level. In effect, there are two main types of DUIs.

· DUI per se - Under Georgia law, you can be charged with a DUI if your BAC is 0.08% or higher within three hours of driving.

· Impairment DUI - If you are operating a vehicle in a way that gives a law enforcement office cause to pull you over for being a hazard and then you are found to be intoxicated in any way, you can be charged with an impairment DUI (also known as a "less safe" DUI).

What are the legal consequences of a DUI?

The severity of DUI penalties is generally proportional to the severity of the DUI itself. If you are charged with your first DUI, you will be faced with a whole host of legal consequences. Some consequences include,

· Driver's license suspended for a year

· A year of probation

· A fine between $300 and $1000

· Required completion of a substance abuse course

· 10 days to a year of jail time

However, some of the penalties depend on your BAC. If your BAC was below 0.08%, you will be required to complete 20 hours of community service. If it was above 0.08%, you will have to complete 40 hours. Additionally, you must spend at least 24 hours in jail if your BAC was above 0.08%.

After 5 years, a subsequent DUI charge will be treated as though it is your first one, but a judge can still take any previous convictions into consideration in their sentencing. No matter what, a DUI conviction of any kind will have serious consequences. In situations like these, a solid legal defense could make all the difference.

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