Georgia is very strict when it comes to driving under the influence. What this means for you is that you can expect fairly harsh sentencing on even a first-time DUI conviction.
The Georgia Department of Driver Services explains there is some leniency shown for your first time getting in trouble, but you will lose your driver’s license. It is possible to also lose it without a conviction.
With a conviction
If the court finds you guilty of driving under the influence, you face a mandatory 12-month driver’s license suspension. The good news is that the state does allow you to seek privileges to drive for work purposes. But you must serve out 120 days of the suspension first. Then, you may request limited permission to drive.
To get this approved, you will have to complete an alcohol treatment program and pay some fees.
Without a conviction
It is possible to lose your license even if a court does not convict you of a DUI. This happens because of the state’s implied consent law. When you get a driver’s license, you agree to submit to substance testing if an officer pulls you over and suspects you of driving under the influence. If you refuse to take a test upon request, then you will lose your license. Your suspension will be for one year, and under this type of restriction, you cannot seek limited driving privileges. You will be unable to drive legally for a full year.
Keep in mind that some cases may be different. If your first DUI also includes other charges, you could face additional suspension and may not qualify for limited driving rights.