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Georgia penalties for DUI offenses can destroy your life

You may think that getting a driving under the influence (DUI) charge when you didn't cause an accident or hurt anyone is a minor thing. However, you'd be wrong to assume that. Even first time DUI offenders can lose their license, their freedom and even their job as a result of the charges. Getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs is a mistake, but it shouldn't have to completely change your life.

An attorney can present you with options about how to proceed if you've been charged with DUI. Pleading guilty or being convicted can drastically alter your life. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may be able to mount a rigorous defense against the charges. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better chance you'll have at a positive outcome to those charges.

Georgia severely penalizes DUI offenders

If you're hoping for leniency because this is your first criminal offense, think again. Georgia's legal system wants to deter you and others from future DUI offenses by making the risk attached to penalties ridiculously steep. First time DUI offenses carry a risk of jail time. Penalties include up to a year of incarceration, a fine of between $300 and $1,000, loss of your driver's license for up to a year, a mandatory minimum of 40 hours of community service and an additional $210 fee when you get your license back. Second time offenders will face even more severe penalties.

If you are charged with a second DUI within five years of the first one, you're looking at at least 48 hours but as much as 90 days to a year in jail. Penalties will also include a fine of at least $600 but as much as $1,000, loss of your license for three years, at least 30 days of community service and a mandatory clinical evaluation and possible substance abuse treatment at your own expense.

A third offense carries at least 15 days in jail, a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, at least 30 days of community service, loss of your license for five years and having your photo, name and address published in the local paper at your own expense.

An attorney can help you fight DUI charges

Maybe you believe that the breath test wasn't administered properly. Perhaps you weren't yet diagnosed with diabetes, which could have caused issues with driving and a failed breath test. Whatever the circumstances, your best chance at a successful defense will come from working with an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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