Getting a DUI in Georgia isn't a simple problem, there are consequences well beyond any ordinary traffic ticket. Getting a DUI in Georgia doesn't just put your license at risk, or expose you to fines, it opens up a world of difficulties from jail, to difficulty getting insurance, to difficulty keeping or getting a job.
In the state of Georgia, DUI Convictions remain on your record forever — they cannot be removed and do not age off. When convicted, there is a mandatory probation period of one year, and repeat offenses can give you far more probation time. Misdemeanor offenses can also come with up to a year in jail, over $1000 in fines, mandatory 20 hours in DUI school, and an ignition device that requires you pass a breathalyzer each time you start up your vehicle. Felony and repeat offenses can come with 5 years in jail and over $7000 in fines. Community service sentencing can range from 40 to 480 hours. You may also be required to complete a DUI Court program, that mandates weekly court visits, counseling sessions, and drug screenings.
This is just the beginning of the legal consequences. Getting a DUI creates a prior offense that will be used in any future sentencing, meaning that “mandatory minimums” for repeat offenders will be used against you if you ever get in trouble for anything again. Your family may have to apply for special license plates because the state doesn't want the DUI convicted driver driving their car. DUIs show up on the FBI's crime database.
You're also at risk for license suspension, depending on whether you've had prior DUI convictions. If you have a commercial driver's
license, it will be suspended for one year on your first offense and FOREVER on your second. If you're caught driving with a suspended
license, your car will be impounded and you will face a criminal case and mandatory jail time.
Your insurance costs are going to go up, but not just your auto insurance — your health and life insurance can go up as well. SR-22,
assigned risk, is required on your auto insurance for 3 years, and if you don't insure your car for over 6 months because you've lost your
license, your rates are going to go up when you reinstate as well. Life insurance policies typically deny issuing new policies or raise
your rates. Health insurance rates can also go up or they can simply deny you as well.
Travel is going to be more difficult. Not only will rental companies potentially refuse to rent a car to you, they can do so even after
your license is reinstated — meaning cabs for you. It can become very difficult to take even business trips to foreign countries, some
of which simply block people with DUI convictions. Some countries also bar entirely your ability to immigrate. If you're not an American
citizen, it can mean a denial of naturalization for 5 years after the close of the DUI case, possible deportation, denial of green card or
work visa renewals, customs delays, and even being barred entry to the US if you ever leave.
DUIs will also negatively impact your job prospects. If you work in an automotive franchise, thanks to moral clauses in their agreements with manufacturers, your DUI can cause losses of million dollar contracts for the dealership. You must always check the yes box on any employment application that asks if you've got prior convictions. Any licensed profession can withhold licensing or revoke your license.
Any company can have a policy that will lead to evaluation for firing, and some have mandatory termination policies — pharmaceutical sales companies, any company with a preferred group insurance rate with the condition of no employees with a DUI, teaching jobs, military jobs with security clearance, doctors and dentists, bartenders, some unions, CPAs, athletes, and even cosmetologists are likely to lose their jobs from a DUI. Any doctor will have to be rehabilitated and have their permit to dispense controlled medicine revoked.
If you're in school, you can be kicked out for violating drug and alcohol policy, and almost all scholarships have a clause that will make you ineligible after a DUI conviction. If you're just applying to schools, they can refuse you entrance because of your record. And if you were planning on joining the armed services, the military will delay your enlistment until you're no longer on probation.
And your inability to get or keep a job won't be the only financial difficulty you're facing. If there was an accident leading to your conviction, you may be liable for thousands of dollars from a civil judgment. You may be required to enter treatment, which can cost thousands of dollars. Your interest rates on your loans, including mortgages, may be higher. You'll be considered high-risk to any potential landlord, and your credit score may go down. You won't be allowed to buy a new car without a full license. And you'll be spending hundreds of dollars a year on probation fees.
The consequences don't end there. You can lose child custody or get unfavorable terms in a divorce thanks to your DUI history. You can be denied a Concealed Weapons permit. If anyone was injured because of your DUI, your wages can be garnished indefinitely until your debt is paid to them. And, on top of all this, there is the social stigma of being a known DUI convict — newspaper stories, police blotters, and mandatory notification if you're a repeat offender. You'll be using a passport instead of a Driver's License and driving a moped, people will think you're an irresponsible drunk and there's nothing you can do about it once you've been convicted.
Call The Patterson Cozzo Law Firm now for help resolving your DUI charges.
The Patterson Cozzo Law Firm
- 531 Roselane St NW #200
- Marietta, GA 30060
- Telephone: (770) 422-8840
- Fax: (404) 602-0058