Georgia DUI Laws & Penalties

Do not drink before driving. That’s a bad strategy because it endangers your and other people’s lives and health. But, even if you avoid tragic consequences, getting caught by a police officer will bring you penalties to make you regret your deed.

What is a Georgia DUI Offense?

Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both will get you charged and convicted for DUI in Georgia. To be charged and convicted, the prosecutor must prove that you had a sufficient amount of alcohol in your blood while operating the vehicle.

The police officer who has pulled you over is the one who collects such evidence. He or she does that by a chemical test of your urine, blood, or breath. In most cases, he or she will use a breathalyzer to assess whether you have drunk and how much.

Then, you will be arrested and charged if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) levels meet or exceed the following thresholds:

  • 0.02% for drivers under 21 years of age
  • 0.04% for commercial drivers
  • 0.08% for all other drivers

In many cases, a BAC level of 0.08% means more than one drink. Some drivers do not feel drunk from that amount of alcohol, but it doesn’t matter when you face with the Georgia DUI laws. As long as your BAC meets the legally set thresholds, you are considered to be drunk.


penalties for dui in georgia

Aside from being drunk, there are two other ways to get in such trouble. The first one is to refuse the chemical test. Georgia has adopted the implied consent law, which obliges every driver to submit to a test. According to this law, from the moment you started operating a vehicle you have expressed your consent to test upon request.

The police officer must not force you to do the test, but if you refuse it, you’ll be arrested, you’ll be fined and get a driving license suspension for a longer period of time compared to if you submitted to the test.

The second one is having an open container with alcohol while you operate the vehicle. Even if the driver or anyone else in the car is not drunk or doesn’t drink from that container, the driver is liable for DUI. No open containers are allowed.

What Are the Penalties for a Georgia DUI Offense?

The more DUI offenses you commit, the harsher penalties you’ll face. If the punishments for your first DUI offense do not change your drink and driving habits, expect the court to impose more severe penalties for the second and the third time.

First Georgia DUI Offense Penalties

The first Georgia DUI offense results in:

  • Jail of up to 1 year
  • Fines of $300 to $1000
  • Driving license suspension of 1 year with a possibility to get a limited license
  • Mandatory community service of 40 hours
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program
  • A reinstatement fee of $210

Second Georgia DUI Offense Penalties

If you commit another DUI in the first 5 years after the first one, your act is punishable as follows:

  • Jail of 90 days to 1 year, with a mandatory minimum of 48 hours
  • Fines between $600 and $1000
  • Driving license suspension between 18 months and 3 years with a possibility to get a limited license
  • Possible use of an ignition interlock device
  • At least 30 days of community service
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program
  • Clinical evaluation and treatment
  • A reinstatement fee of $210

Third Georgia DUI Offense Penalties

Your third Georgia DUI offense will make you a habitual violator, which brings harsher penalties and makes it harder to reinstate your driving license. The applicable penalties include:

  • At least 15 days in jail
  • A $1000 to $5000 fine
  • Driving license suspension of 5 years with a possibility to get a limited license after 2 years
  • Confiscation of your license plate
  • Publishing of your name, address, and photo in a local newspaper and the costs associated with it
  • Possible use of an ignition interlock device
  • At least 30 days of community service
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program
  • Clinical evaluation and treatment
  • A reinstatement fee of $410

Georgia DUI Penalties For a Test Refusal

The implied consent laws mean that you’ll get punished in the case you don’t have your BAC tested due to your refusal. That will result in an arrest and an automatic driving license confiscation. You’ll get a temporary 30-days driving license, after which your driving license will be suspended as follows:

  •  1 year for the first offense
  •  3 years for the second offense
  • 5 years for the third offense

Refusing the test won’t save you from fines either.

Georgia DUI Penalties for Underage Drivers

Georgia DUI laws make a difference between drivers of the age of 15 or younger and those between 16 and 20 years old. The penalties for the same offense are different for each group.

Drivers of up to 15 years of age are punished as follows:

First Georgia DUI Offense for 15 Years Old Drivers or Younger

For their first offense, young drivers will face:

  • Driving license suspension until turning 17
  • A fee of $210
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program

Second Georgia DUI Offense for 15 Years Old Drivers or Younger

The second time, the penalties will be:

  • Driving license suspension until turning 18
  • A fee of $310
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program

Third Georgia DUI Offense for 15 Years Old Drivers or Younger

If the driver of the age of 15 years or younger commits a third DUI offense, he or she will face:

  • Driving license suspension until turning 18
  • A fee of $410
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program

Drivers of the age between 16 and 20 are under the threat of slightly different penalties. They include:

First Georgia DUI Offense for 16 to 20 Years Old Drivers

The very first offense brings the following consequences to underage drivers:

  • Driving license suspension for 6 months for a BAC under 0.08% or 12 months for BAC of 0.08% or more, with a possibility to get a limited license
  • A fee of $210
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program

Second Georgia DUI Offense for 16 to 20 Years Old Drivers

The second DUI offense as an underage driver within 5 years after the first one results in:

  • Driving license suspension for 18 months
  • A possibility to get a limited license with use of an ignition interlock device after 120 days
  • A fee of $310
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program
  • Clinical evaluation and possible treatment for alcohol and drugs abuse

Third Georgia DUI Offense for 16 to 20 Years Old Drivers

If an underage driver commits his or her third Georgia DUI offense within a 5-year period, the following penalties are applicable:

  • Driving license suspension for 5 years
  • A possibility to get a limited license with use of an ignition interlock device after 2 years
  • A fee of $410
  • DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program
  • Clinical evaluation and possible treatment for alcohol and drugs abuse

Georgia DUI Penalties for Commercial Drivers

The Georgia legislation adopts the same nation-wide standard to CDL (commercial driving license) holders when it comes to driving under influence. That means that, whether the CDL holder operates a commercial or a private vehicle under influence, in addition to all the other penalties, they are subject to:

  •  CDL suspension of 1 year for the first offense
  • CDL suspension of 3 years for the first offense, is they drive hazardous materials
  • Permanent revocation after the second offense

How to Get a Limited Driving Permit in Georgia

Some drivers are eligible to get a limited driving license that allows them to drive to and from work, school, doctor, DUI classes and similar purposes.

Your conviction will inevitably lead to a suspension, but after a while, you may apply for a limited license. The judge decides in every individual case whether and when to let the driver get one. If you want one, ensure to follow the instructions given by the judge.

Keep in mind that only drivers driving under the influence of alcohol may be eligible for a limited license. Those caught with drugs, including marijuana, in their organism are not eligible. 

Reinstating Your Georgia Driving License

Reinstating your Georgia driving license is a simple and straightforward process. All you have to do is go to the local DMV office and submit proof that:

  • You have served your sentences and driving license suspension
  • You have completed the DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program
  • You have paid the reinstatement fee.

Upon the application, you’ll receive your driving license back very soon.

If you are a habitual violator, though, the requirements are different. In that case, you’ll have to submit:

  • A proof that you have served your driving license suspension
  • A completion certificate of a driver improvement clinic
  • A proof that you have met the requirements of the DUI Alcohol or Drugs Use Risk Reduction Program and you have been evaluated and treated for alcohol and drugs abuse if required
  • A proof that you have completed the test necessary for reinstatement of the license
  • A proof that you have paid the $410 fee.
Additional Georgia resources you may need: