Stephen Hasner | Georgia Law | May 14, 2021
Georgia has strict laws against drinking and driving. If you are convicted of DUI in Georgia, you could face expensive fines, significant jail terms, and other consequences. Additionally, if you cause a car accident while driving under the influence, you could face civil penalties for damages caused by the DUI accident.
DUI Laws and Penalties in Georgia
The legal limit for DUI in Georgia is a blood alcohol content of .08 percent. However, if you are under the age of 21 years, there is a zero tolerance for drunk driving. A BAC of .02 percent or higher is considered being under the influence for drivers under the age of 21 years.
The legal limit for commercial drivers is a BAC of .04 percent. Being convicted of DUI while driving a commercial vehicle results in a suspension of your CDL for at least one year. The BAC for truck drivers is lower because of the extreme danger posed by commercial truck accidents.
DUI charges can result in up to a year in jail and fines of up to $5,000, depending on whether you have prior DUI convictions within ten years.
In addition, DUI convictions can also result in:
- Community service
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Drug and alcohol abuse courses
- DUI school
- Alcohol addiction evaluation
- License reinstatement fee
- Surrender license plate
- Pay a fee to have your name, photo, and address published in a local newspaper
Most DUI charges are misdemeanors. However, a third DUI increases to a charge of a high and aggravated misdemeanor. After a third DUI, the person may receive Habitual Violator Status.
The fourth DUI increases to a felony charge. The penalties for a fourth and subsequent DUI can include a prison sentence of up to five years.
A DUI conviction can also have other consequences. For example, your car insurance premiums will increase for a drunk driving conviction. Depending on your driving record, you may be required to obtain SR-22 insurance, which is extremely expensive. Losing your driver’s license could result in losing your job.
If you cause an accident while driving under the influence, you can face additional criminal charges and penalties. However, you can also face costly civil penalties if someone is injured in a DUI accident.
What Type of Damages Can Victims of a DUI Accident Receive?
Some victims may sustain fatal injuries that result in wrongful death. Other individuals may sustain permanent impairments or disabilities, including paralysis, amputations, and permanent brain damage.
The types of damages that victims may receive compensation for because of a drunk driving crash include:
- Loss of income and benefits, including future lost wages and decreases in earning potential
- Cost of medical treatment and personal care
- Permanent impairments, scarring, disabilities, and disfigurement
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Psychological injuries
- Decreased quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death damages
If you are responsible for causing a drunk driving accident, the accident victims can sue you for damages. Your car insurance provider may pay some of the damages, but you could be personally responsible for thousands of dollars. If a victim died or sustained a permanent impairment, you could be financially liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What Should I Do if I am the Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident in Georgia?
Try to remain calm and call 911 to report the crash. Do not confront the driver because intoxicated individuals are unpredictable. Tell the emergency operator that you believe the other driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene and make a video with your cell phone. Be cautious because the drunk driver may not like the fact that you are documenting the accident scene. Make sure to ask witnesses for their names and contact information.
When the police officers arrive, let them know the situation. Tell them what happened and ask for medical care. It is essential to seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible.
When your health condition permits, contact a Georgia DUI accident lawyer to discuss a personal injury claim. If the drunk driver caused the collision, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages.