Georgia DUI Laws and Penalties

What is considered “driving under the influence” (DUI) in Georgia and the consequences of a conviction.

In Georgia, a motorist can get a DUI for operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle:

  • while "under the influence" of alcohol or drugs (called a "DUI-less-safe")
  • with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or
  • with any amount of illegal drugs in his or her system.

Any driver with an elevated BAC is presumed to be under the influence and can be convicted without proof of actual impairment. An elevated BAC is .04% or more for drivers of commercial vehicles, .02% or more for drivers who are under 21 years old, and .08% or more for all other drivers.

Jail Time and Fines for Georgia DUI Convictions

The penalties for a DUI are dependent on the number of prior convictions the driver has that occurred within the last ten years.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense


10 days to 12 months

90 days to 12 months

120 days to 12 months


$300 to $1,000

$600 to $1,000

$1,000 to $5,000

Community Service

20 hours minimum (40 hours minimum with a BAC of .08% or more)

30 days minimum

30 days minimum

The court will order the offender to complete 12 months of probation less any time spent in jail. Probation can suspend part of the jail sentence, but the offender must serve at least:

  • 24 hours in jail for a first offense
  • 72 hours in jail for a second offense, and
  • 15 days in jail for a third offense.

All DUI offenders must obtain an alcohol and drug evaluation and follow any recommended treatment. Second-time offenders must also complete the DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program.

A second DUI violation in five years will result in the driver having to surrender his or her license plates. And a third DUI violation in five years will result in vehicle forfeiture.

Felony DUIs

Most DUIs are misdemeanor offenses. However, certain factors can make a DUI a felony. These factors include:

  • having three or more prior DUI convictions within the past ten years
  • fleeing an officer, and
  • causing the death or serious bodily harm to another person or unborn fetus.

Felony penalties are more severe than their misdemeanor counterparts and typically include one year or more in prison.

Driver's License Penalties

A Georgia DUI also has license-related consequences. The specific consequences depend on the number of priors the offender has within the past five years, whether the offender unlawfully refused BAC testing, and the driver's age and BAC.

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

DUI Conviction

12-month suspension

3-year suspension

Permanent revocation

Test Refusal

1-year suspension

3-year suspension

5-year suspension

Under 21 DUI and under .08%

6-month suspension

18-month suspension

Permanent revocation

A suspended or revoked driver may be eligible for early reinstatement—after a minimum suspension served—by completing the DUI education program.

Also, a suspended driver may be eligible for a hardship license. This license permits driving during the suspension period but only for certain purposes and only with an ignition interlock device. Drivers involved in a DUI collision or with a prior DUI conviction within the last five years are not eligible for the hardship license.

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