DUI Penalties

An Arrest for Driving Impaired

In Georgia, "driving under the influence" or DUI = driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. A DUI charge can be a refusal or chemical testing of your blood alcohol content (BAC) using a breath or blood sample. If the results come back 0.08 percent or higher, you will be charged with DUI.

If your BAC falls below the 0.08 percent level, you rarely will be charged with DUI; unless substantial evidence shows that the arresting officer considered your ability to drive as impaired.

If you refuse to take a chemical test, Georgia's Administrative License Suspension Law applies and your license may ('may' is more like 'will') be suspended for one year.

Field Sobriety Testing

When law enforcement stops you, you will be asked to perform field sobriety tests. There are (typically) three kinds of field sobriety tests that law enforcement will administer; each designed to determine driver impairment by alcohol or drugs.

  • Walk and turn—a series of nine heel-to-toe steps forward, a pivot on your front foot, and nine steps back while you count the steps out loud. The officer evaluates whether you are able to follow directions, stay on the line, take the proper number of steps, count out loud appropriately, take the steps without using your arms for balance, and complete the test. Failure of two of these results in arrest.
  • One-leg stand—stand on one leg and raise the other about six inches off the ground while counting out loud. Here, the officer is looking for you to balance, keep your arms at your sides, count, keep your foot up, and repeat the movements until he or she tells you to stop. Failure of two of these results in arrest.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus—all this term means is an involuntary jerking of the eyes. Alcohol exaggerates the movement. The officer has you follow an object with your eyes. If he or she notices a lack of smoothness, distinct and sustained jerking, or jerking before 45 degrees, you may be arrested. (this test is often more inaccurate than any other)

Risk Reduction Program

As a preventative measure, the law firm of McDonald & Cody, LLC, attorney Sam Sliger - will recommend that you attend and complete a "risk reduction" course. This will help in the resolution of your case. If the case gets reduced or dismissed, the certificate can be used to clear your driving record of points and will aid in the closing of the DUI case. If you are convicted on a DUI charge, the judge (almost always) will order you to participate in a Risk Reduction Program. This is basically an intervention move to modify your drinking or drug use behavior in a classroom environment. The state maintains an official list of schools for this purpose. Any small town has a location for this class.

DUI Charges and the Sentence

A DUI charge in Georgia is serious business. If convicted, your personal and professional life could be turned upside down. Sam Sliger, of the criminal division of McDonald & Cody, LLC, leaves no stone unturned in your defense to lessen or avoid the following penalties you could face:

First offense

  • Misdemeanor
  • Fine Range: $300-$1,000
  • Imprisonment: 10 days to 12 months—if your BAC was under 0.08 percent, the judge may suspend, stay, or probate this and if so, you would serve a minimum of 24 hours incarceration
  • Community service:40 hours; BAC 0.08 percent and higher—at least 40 hours of community service
  • Program: Risk Reduction Program
  • Probation: up to 12 months, minus the time of actual incarceration
  • License suspension: one year (if refused)

Second offense (within ten years of first offense)

  • Misdemeanor
  • Fine Range: $600-$1,000
  • Imprisonment: 90 days to 12 months
  • Community service: minimum of 30 days (240 Hours)
  • Program: Risk Reduction Program
  • Probation: up to 12 months, minus the time of actual incarceration
  • License suspension: three years (we may be able to get you a permit)

Third offense (within ten years)

  • High and Aggravated Misdemeanor
  • Fine Range: Up to $5,000
  • Imprisonment: 120 days to 12 months
  • Community service: Minimum of 30 days
  • Program: Risk Reduction Program
  • Probation: 12 months, minus the time of actual incarceration
  • License suspension: five (5) years

License reinstatement fees also apply as well as ignition interlock and possible vehicle confiscation.

Our Job Is To Save Your License

A DUI conviction on your record and loss of your license can also make it harder for you to—

  • Get to work if public transportation is not available
  • Finding or keeping your job
  • Honoring obligations to your family and friends

A Win: (1) No Jail (2) Keep License (3) Dismissed DUI

A tough and experienced litigator, Sam Sliger knows how to anticipate the prosecution. He takes novel approaches and is always thinking outside the box to protect your rights against Georgia drunk driving charges.  Each case benefits from his careful personal attention.

  • Sam counsels with the best chemists, accident reconstructionists, and other experts
  • Once hired the firm spends the necessary Money andresource necessary to build your case
  • Sam continually questions
    • The initial stop
    • The field sobriety tests
    • Police statements prior to your BAC testing
    • Accuracy testing and maintenance of testing apparatus

Call Sam Sliger (706) 778-5291

Do not let a charge of drunk driving or driving under the influence box you in. Call Sam Sliger of the criminal division of McDonald & Cody, LLC in Cornelia at (706) 778-5291 today or contact him online, sam@mcdonaldcody.com, to schedule your free initial consultation. Learn what a difference Sam can make.

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We would be privileged to speak with you further regarding your legal needs.

Our Philosophy

The philosophy at McDonald & Cody, LLC is to provide maximum results, one client at a time. We are dedicated to our cases and strive for quick, full and maximum compensation. We are committed to our core values of returning phone calls, candid assessments, and responsibility. These values are the building blocks to successful relationships with our clients who deserve the very best in legal services.