What Happens When You Get a DUI?

What Happens When You Get a DUI?

a leather-bound legal book titled DUI LAW

Dealing With a DUI

In Georgia, can you get arrested for a DUI? Yes, and like the rest of the country, the state of Georgia has taken a strong stand against driving under the influence, of alcohol or drugs. With that decision comes higher DUI bail amounts set by presiding judges, and stiffer penalties if found guilty. 

What is considered a DUI?

And is drunk driving a crime? Yes, in Georgia, drunk driving is a crime and dangerous.  DUI – Driving Under the Influence in George encompasses both alcohol and drugs. A driver that tests for .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or more, receives an automatic DUI charge. 

Georgia considers all cases involving a DUI to be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony offense. Even with a first-time offense, the accused faces the possible risk of a permanent criminal record. However, more than 90% of all DUI arrests in the state are filed as a misdemeanor with the DUI bail amount in line with the offense. 

Still, even for a first-time offense risk, there is the unknown and still face the possibilities of negative consequences with employment and other aspects of the future. Even if released on a misdemeanor DUI bail bond posting, there is still a criminal record established. 

There are two elements that can have you arrested for DUI; bail posting will be decided by the judge after reviewing all matters.  The elements are: 

  • One: You do not have to be driving the vehicle. You can be parked with the motor off, but if the keys are in the ignition and you’re behind the wheel, you are considered DUI because you have “Physical Control” of the vehicle. 
  • Two: As the driver, if you are under the influence of drugs or intoxicated by alcohol consumption, the prosecution will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were DUI at the time of your arrest, even if the judge allows DUI bail to be posted for release.

Is a DUI a felony?

The state of Georgia, in general, considers most DUI convictions as a misdemeanor. Equate the penalties to that of a moving violation or causing a minor accident. However, there are situations where a DUI arrest can be upgraded to a felony charge, and the DUI bail may be denied by the judge.  Those situations include: 


As of July 1, 2008, the state of Georgia deemed a fourth DUI conviction to be tried as a felony. The DUI bail, if allowed, will be considerably higher and the penalties are harsher with possible DUI bail denied: 

  • Minimum fine of $1,000 to a maximum $5,000
  • Minimum imprisonment 1 year to a maximum of 5 years
  • Minimum of  sixty days of community service, suspended if the sentencing is for a minimum of 3 years prison time
  • Probation for a minimum of five years 
  • Required DUI Alcohol or Drug Use program within four months of conviction
  • Clinical evaluation
  • Required completion of a substance abuse treatment program if clinical evaluation deems needed

Anyone that causes injury or death while DUI in the state of Georgia will face the following punishments with felony charge that results in the following: 

  • Victim’s deprived of any part of their body
  • Victim’s body is rendered useless
  • Victim’s body or body part is seriously disfigured 
  • Victim suffers organic brain damage

A person convicted of a DUI that results in another person’s death will be sentenced to a minimum of 3 years to a maximum of 15 years in prison. If a person convicted of a DUI result in another person suffering a severe injury, punishment can range from a minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 15 years of prison sentencing. 

How long can you go to jail for a DUI?

There are significant consequences when charged with DUI in the Peach State. IF DUI bail is allowed and has been posted, the consequences include:

First DUI Conviction: Minimum fine of $300 and twenty-four hours in jail. Other possible consequences can include:

  • 40 hours of community service
  • 12 months of probation
  • DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Courses
  • Substance abuse evaluation
  • Maximum fine of $1,000, maximum 1 year in jail, or both fine and jail time. 

Second DUI within a 10-year period: 

  • Minimum is seventy-two hours in jail, $600.00 fine, 10 days community service, 1-year probation, required DUI School, and substance abuse evaluation. 
  • Maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail. 

Third DUI and beyond within 10 years:

  • Aggravated misdemeanor charge with a minimum fifteen days in jail, minimum $1,000 fine, 10 days community service, required DUI school, 1 year probation, required substance abuse evaluation, and any additional orders by the judge. 
  • The maximum penalty includes 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

How much does a DUI Bail cost? 

The range of DUI Bail in Georgia is between $150 and $2,500 with the bail bond typically 10% of the bail amount. A DUI bail amount will vary on several factors including the defendant’s previous criminal history, surrounding facts of the arrest, and the defendant’s community standing. 

How do DUI bail bonds work? 

Once a judge sets the DUI bail amount, the defendant can post the full amount with the court. Other options are to call a criminal defense attorney or have somebody post bail with a bail bond agency or agent. Once the defendant has completed all required court-ordered mandates and the court date has been completed, the bail amount posted is refunded minus any fees. 

car keys, a glass of alcohol, and handcuffs sitting together on a table

In Closing 

A common question from first-time DUI offenders is, “Can DUI charges get dropped?”, and the answer is maybe. You’ll need to hire an experienced lawyer. What types of lawyers work on DUI cases? You want one that has criminal experience for DUI charges with positive results. 

They will review the case, your background, and community standing then file for dismissal. The prosecution will have a say in the matter and your defense lawyer needs to be able to show reasonable doubt on the arrest and the surrounding situation.