It’s fun to go out and party with your friends or go to the bar and get a drink to unwind from a stressful day. No one is telling you that you shouldn’t, but the DUI laws don’t consider your terrible day as an excuse to drink too much and drive. The law doesn’t consider ignorance of DUI laws an excuse, either. To avoid ending up in jail or with an arrest record, you need to know where the limits are when it comes to drinking and driving. Learn about the basics of DUI laws in Georgia before you decide to tie another one on tonight.
What is a DUI?
DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence” and addresses the problem of driving while you are unable to because of alcohol or other substances. Yes, a DUI applies to alcohol and substance use, including prescription and OTC medications that impair your ability to drive.
For reference, you may see a DUI referred to as a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in other places, but they are closely related if not considered the same thing depending on where you are.
How Do You Get a DUI?
DUIs are the result of driving a vehicle or operating machinery (i.e. construction equipment, etc.) while your abilities are impaired by a substance that you took willingly. The best and most prominent example of this is getting drunk and driving your car. If caught, the officer can test you to see how much alcohol is in your system using a breathalyzer test or check your level of impairment with a field sobriety test. If you fail the test, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI.
In other cases, you can get a DUI for something simple like taking Nyquil instead of Dayquil and trying to drive or operate machinery. Nyquil specifically makes you drowsy and unfit to drive. Medications like Benadryl have a similar effect and can get you a DUI if you are caught doing something that you shouldn’t while impaired. Many of the substances that can cause this are labeled on the package and tell you not to drive or operate heavy machinery after taking it.
What is the Punishment for a DUI?
The punishment for a DUI depends on the severity of the incident and how many you have on your record. The punishment for a misdemeanor DUI in Georgia includes:
● A fine between $300 and $1,000
● Up to 12 months in jail (although short sentences can be waived entirely)
● A suspended driver’s license is possible, but it is not mandatory
As you accumulate more DUIs, the punishments progressively increase within these limits. However, your fourth DUI automatically becomes a felony DUI, and it is also possible to go straight to a felony DUI at any time if your accident kills or severely injures someone. The punishment for a felony DUI in Georgia includes:
● Up to five years in jail
● Up to $5,000 in fines, plus court fees
● A suspended license is possible and likely
● A revoked (permanently suspended or canceled) license is possible
Any DUI charges can have a serious impact on your life, which is why your next step can include discussing your case with a Georgia DUI attorney.
Don’t Let a DUI Ruin Your Life
If you are charged with a DUI, it is important to remember that a good legal defense is the key to keeping your life from being derailed. Discuss your case with the DUI attorneys at Joshua J. Smith Attorney at Law by calling us at (706) 217-2095 or filling out our contact form. We help clients every day deal with DUI law charges and get back to their lives.