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Attorney Katherine A. Gonos
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Is jail time mandatory after a Georgia DUI?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Drunk Driving |

Driving under the influence is a serious offense with severe consequences. In Georgia, DUI laws are strict, aiming to deter people from driving while impaired.

Many people wonder if jail time is mandatory after a DUI conviction. Knowing the potential penalties can help drivers understand the gravity of this offense and the importance of safe driving.

First-time DUI offenses

For a first-time DUI offense, jail time is often mandatory. However, the duration can vary. Typically, the minimum jail time for a first DUI is 24 hours. However, the judge may impose additional jail time depending on the circumstances of the case, such as the driver’s blood alcohol content or if there were any aggravating factors like an accident or minor passengers. Besides jail time, first-time offenders may face fines, probation, community service and mandatory DUI education programs.

Repeat DUI offenses

Penalties for repeat DUI offenses are much harsher. Mandatory jail time ranges from 72 hours to 90 days for a second DUI offense within ten years. The exact length depends on the specific details of the case. Third and subsequent DUI offenses carry even longer mandatory jail sentences, starting at a minimum of 15 days and potentially extending to years. Repeat offenders also face higher fines, longer probation periods and more extensive community service requirements.

Aggravating factors

Certain aggravating factors can increase the likelihood of mandatory jail time for a DUI. These factors include having a very high BAC, causing an accident, injuring someone or having a minor in the vehicle. The presence of any of these factors typically results in stricter penalties, including longer mandatory jail time. Judges consider these factors to emphasize the seriousness of the offense and the heightened risk posed to public safety.

By adhering to the law and making safe choices, drivers can avoid the severe consequences of DUI offenses.