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Driving Under the Influence - Knowing the consequences of a First DUI in Georgia

Posted by attorney Cory Yager

If you are faced with a DUI in the state of Georgia, you must be aware that there are both direct and indirect consequences of a DUI Conviction. A DUI in the state of Georgia, like most other state in the United States creates severe and often lifelong consequences. In determining how to deal with your case, you should always consult a qualified lawyer who is very familiar with the issues associated in DUI law.

The following guide represents some of the direct and indirect consequences that you may face if you are convicted for a DUI in the state of Georgia.

COURT-RELATED CONSEQUENCES

DUI Convictions in Georgia remain on your permanent criminal history FOREVER. There is no law in the state of Georgia that allows for a DUI conviction to be Expunged. This means that upon conviction for a DUI, the record of the conviction will remain with you going forward and there is nothing that can be done to remove this mark on your permanent record. For a 1st DUI in 5 years (for drivers license purposes), 1st DUI in 10 years (for criminal purposes), upon conviction, a DUI Defendant will face the following:

JAIL TIME

Minimum 24 Hours in jail with credit for any time served. Maximum 12 months in jail. PROBATION: The remainder of any of mandatory one year sentence not served in jail will be on probation. SPECIAL PROBATION TERMS: A DUI Sentence will also generally require: DUI Risk Reduction School (GA DUI School) Alcohol and Drug Evaluation and follow any treatment recommended Minimum 40 hours of community service Possibly a MADD Victim Impact Panel

DRIVER'S LICENSE IMPLICATIONS

As a result of a DUI Conviction you will also face a mandatory Driver's License Suspension by operation of law. For a 1st DUI in 5 years, this is a one (1) year suspension. Depending on age (21 and over vs. under 21), whether there is an Administrative License Suspension for Refusal in your case, and whether you are otherwise eligible for a Georgia License, a Georgia Resident may be eligible for a limited permit to drive for permitted purposes and may be eligible for early re-instatement of their Georgia Driver's License under current Georgia Law.

FINES AND COURT COSTS

Misdemeanors - up to $ 1,000 + surcharges (+/- $ 1,650) for first or second DUI Indirect Consequences of a DUI: Perhaps the most known indirect consequence of a DUI is that your auto insurance carrier will likely either raise your insurance rates by moving you into a high risk category. In many circumstances you insurance carrier may even drop your insurance coverage. A DUI conviction can also affect your insurability in the areas of health insurance and life insurance as well. If in accident that would be covered by worker's compensation law, claim could be denied if proof of DUI (an illegal act) causing your injuries is proven such that your benefits can be denied.

Another consequence of a DUI is that many major rental car companies will not rent vehicles to anyone with DUI conviction. The length of time for this bar on rental of vehicle by major car rental insurance companies can last from 3 to 6 years. A prior offense to be used to future sentencing offenses. Georgia has "mandatory minimum" sentencing. See www.DUI.tv/galaws.pdf

DUI is the only motor vehicle offense that shows up on NCIC database (national crime information center, Quantico, VA). This is kept by the FBI. Therefore, even if you move to another state, the DUI conviction will follow you to the new state.

TRAVEL AND IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

A First lifetime DUI conviction can result in the denial of ability to immigrate or travel to some countries (e.g., Canada). The Country of Canada imposes a bar on entry into Canada for non-Canadian citizens as the result of a DUI conviction. After a period of time (5-10 years), you may be able to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation with the Canadian Government. DUI Conviction may also result in the denial of naturalization (A person may not be allowed to become U.S. citizen) for 5 years after the final disposition of a DUI case. A DUI can also result in the deportation from the United States to your country of origin, if you aren't a United States citizen. Further, if you are in the immigration process, your "Green" card renewal or work visa renewal can be denied or delayed.

EMPLOYMENT CONSEQUENCES

Georgia is an "at will" or "right to work" state meaning that a private employer can generally fire a person for no reason at all. A DUI conviction, and in some cases even a DUI arrest can cause the Employer to make a decision to terminate employment. On employment applications, after a DUI conviction, you will ALWAYS have to respond that you have been convicted of a DUI. Obviously this information may be the determinative factor in whether you will get the job for which you have applied. For professions requiring licensure, (e.g., Lawyers, Doctors, Registered Nurses, Occupational Therapists, etc...), the state board in charge of licensing may delay or deny licensure based upon a DUI conviction. A DUI conviction may also result in the denial of admission into Post-Graduate / Professional Schools such as medical schools, nursing schools, law schools, etc... Teachers and other professionals in the Education Industry, depending on the policy of the individual school district, may be terminated from their position.

MILITARY-RELATED ISSUES

Security clearance may be denied or revoked at military bases or at other businesses that "contract" with the U.S. Government on high security clearance issues.

Military superior officers may sanction any service member by denying privileges on the base, and impose other restrictions on duties. Further your Military career may be over or future advancement denied as the result of a DUI conviction. Additionally, military personnel in the military who are ordered to be deployed to combat duty can be pulled out of deployment status and may be discharged from military service. The military may discharge either by general discharge or even via dishonorable discharge.

A DUI CONVICTION IS FOREVER

There are generally no intervention avenues to avoid reporting of the conviction.

There is NO "youthful offender" statute available under Georgia DUI laws.

There is NO "first offender" status available on DUI - this is prohibited by statute in the state of Georgia.

Most courts in the State of Georgia will not allow or consider pre-trial diversion or conditional discharge in a DUI case.

EDUCATION RAMIFICATIONS

A college or university may sanction you independently of any criminal or license suspension hearing matters. The sanction of the college can range from mandatory substance abuse awareness classes to suspension from school for a period of time with the requirement of meeting certain conditions to re-enter classes the following semester, to complete expulsion.

CONCLUSION

There are a host of consequences of a DUI that ordinary citizens don't consider or know about when faced with a DUI charge. Only by employing a qualified DUI attorney can you fully understand the nature of the DUI charge against you and possible defenses in your case. Given the host of direct and indirect consequences of a DUI, and given that DUI is often a crime of "opinion" (officer has opinion you were less safe to drive a vehicle as the result of the consumption of an intoxicant), your best option when faced with a DUI is to consult with a qualified DUI attorney in your area.

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