There are several types of penalties a driver charged with DUI could face in Atlanta Municipal Court. If you have been charged with DUI, the penalties you may face will greatly depend upon your personal criminal and driving history, and the circumstances of your arrest. The following list is meant to serve as a general overview of all of the potential penalties. More detailed information on each specific penalty may be obtained elsewhere in this section.
Clinical Evaluation: Residents of Georgia who have been convicted of DUI either in state or out-of-state must undergo a clinical evaluation to determine if you have alcohol and/or substance abuse issues. The evaluation must be performed by a Clinical Evaluator who has been approved by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. If the evaluation does show that you have alcohol and/or substance abuse problems, you must also complete a substance abuse treatment program (see below for more information).
Community Service: Everyone convicted of a DUI will be required to perform a certain amount of community service hours. These hours must consist of volunteer (unpaid) work you perform at a nonprofit organization. To fulfill this requirement, the organization must agree to host you as a court-mandated volunteer and the court must approve the organization at which you serve (you don't need to get approval on a case-by case basis, there is a long list of local organizations that have already been approved by the court).
Driver's License Revocation: If your driver's license has been revoked, your driving privileges are terminated and withdrawn until the end of the period of time set by the Georgia Department of Driver Services (for repeat DUI offenders, this period can be 5 years). At the end of the revocation period, you may apply for a new driver's license once you satisfy all DDS requirements and pay the required fees.
Driver's License Suspension: If your driver's license has been suspended, your driving privilege is temporarily withdrawn for a specific period of time set by the Georgia Department of Driver Services. At the end of the suspension period, you may apply for a driver's license once you satisfy all DDS requirements and pay the required fees.
DUI School or Risk Reduction Program: Residents of Georgia who have been convicted of DUI either in state or out-of-state must successfully complete a DDS approved DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program (commonly referred to as "DUI School"). This is a 20 hour intervention program designed for drivers who have been convicted of certain infractions.
Fines: Drivers convicted of DUI will be ordered to pay a range of fines as part of a criminal sentence, from around $1,000 for a first conviction to up to $10,000 for multiple convictions. These fines do not include the fees you will be required to pay for other parts of your sentence, such as reinstatement of your driver's license.
Ignition Interlock Device: If a driver is convicted of multiple DUIs within a certain time period, he or she may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. This is a machine that will not allow a car to be started until the driver has given a breath sample and no alcohol is detected.
Jail Time: Even first time DUI offenders can face up to one year of jail time. Repeat offenders could face multiple years in state prison. It is uncommon, but at times the court may allow a defendant to serve a period of jail time by home confinement or wearing a GPS device.
Probation: A judge may sentence a defendant convicted of DUI to a term of jail time, but part of this sentence could be served as probation, or a judge could add a term of probation to follow jail time.
Risk Reduction Program: See "DUI School"
Substance Abuse Treatment Program: If a person convicted of DUI undergoes a clinical evaluation which determines that an alcohol and/or substance abuse problem exists, the clinician will make a recommendation for the appropriate treatment program. You are required to fully comply with whatever treatment program that has been recommended.
If you are facing any of these penalties, please give us a call. We can discuss your case in detail, which will give us a good picture of what punishments you could possibly face, and we can decide on the best game plan for moving forward.