Georgia DUI Laws and Penalties

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Have you been arrested for a DUI?

This can be a scary and confusing time but we are here to walk you through the process and help you get your best results. A DUI arrest can mean represent facing jail time, hefty fines and license suspension. The lawyers at Lawson and Berry are here to help.


In Georgia, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol crimes are referred to under Georgia law as DUI, not DWI. There are certain statutory minimums and maximums that are required for DUI offenses, but each case is unique. Typically, for a first DUI in Georgia with no aggravating circumstances like an accident or young children in the car, the maximum penalty is a 12 month sentence to be served in jail or on probation. There is a generally a minimum of 24 hours that needs to be served in jail and the remainder of the 12 months may be served on probation. A minimum penalty of 40 hours community service and DUI school is often required as well.
Please explore this Henry County DUI site as it contains information pertinent to a variety of DUI related matters. Below is a summary of some key areas:

Do I Need A Lawyer

Even the best do-it-yourselfer will tell you, representing yourself in court is never a good idea. Instead, you should contact the DUI Attorneys at Lawson and Berry right away. They will provide you with an experienced DUI attorney in Henry County, Georgia who will review your case and work with you to develop the best DUI defense for your specific case.

Henry County DUI Process

Most DUI arrests begin with a police stop. If an officer observes you driving erratically, making wide turns, weaving, speeding or something suspicious, they will pull your car over. If the officer is suspicious that you are intoxicated, they will perform one or several sobriety tests. DUI arrests also happen at roadside sobriety checkpoints.

Accidents And Serious Injury By Vehicle

An auto accidents that induces serious bodily injury is a traumatic event for everyone involved. Due rigorous anti-drinking and driving campaigns, Georgia courts are under a lot of pressure to uphold serious penalties for those accused of drunk driving. While you may be facing charges for a serious accident you caused, these will be much worse if DUI is suspected to have played a part. Whether or not this is an accurate charge, it's absolutely critical that you enlist an aggressive and meticulous defense attorney as soon as possible.

ALS Hearings / 30 Day Letter

An ALS hearing is held when you are arrested for a DUI in Henry County. Its purpose is to determine whether or not your driver's license should be suspended. An ALS hearing is not related to your DUI trial and the hearing is held at the Department of Driver Services. If arrested for DUI, you have just 30 days from the date of your arrest to request this hearing to challenge the suspension of your license. However, you do have the option to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle instead of requesting an ALS hearing. The installation must be done within 30 days and is only an option for a first DUI. 

Blood Test And Intox 5000 Breath Tests

DUI arrests are typically accompanied by some form of scientific test that determines the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC). These tests come in the several forms: breath, blood or urine test. These tests are not perfect and can sometimes be successfully challenged. Arguments such as human error or equipment malfunction can render tests inconclusive and charges may be dropped.

DUI Child Endangerment

If you are arrested and charged with DUI with a child under the age of 14 in your vehicle, you may likely be charged with the additional offense of child endangerment. These charges can be very serious and may involve jail time if convicted. Another negative side effect of child endangerment charges is that they will stay on your record and can be used against you in a divorce or custody hearing.

Drugs & DUI

DUI is not always for alcohol. In fact, aside from alcohol you can be arrested for driving under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medicine. If you are facing charges for drug-related DUI, the lawyers at Lawson and Berry can help. We have over twenty years of experience in drug related cases and will work hard to help you through the entire process.

DUI Under 21 / Teenage DUI

If you are under the legal drinking age of 21, you can get a DUI without even being legally intoxicated. This is because drivers under 21 are considered driving under the influence if their a blood alcohol content (BAC) is .02% or greater. What's more, if you are convicted of an under 21 DUI offense, you will face serious charges like a year of driver's license suspension.

Field Sobriety Tests

When a police officer pulls you over and suspects DUI, you will usually be asked to perform a standardized field sobriety test as well as a BAC (blood, breath or urine test) test. There are a variety of these types of field tests and it is important to note that, unlike a BAC test, you can decline taking them without any penalties. Field sobriety tests have many factors that can make open to skepticism and the results can be challenged in court.

Henry County DUI By Out Of State Driver

If you have gotten a DUI in the state of Georgia and you are not a Georgia resident, you should take immediate action. When you are an out-of-state resident it's important to resolve a Georgia DUI offense quickly, your driving privileges could be at stake. The lawyers at Lawson and Berry have a long history of helping out-of-state clients with their DUI charges. We can even assist you with attorney representation if it is difficult for you to travel to Georgia to attend your hearings.

Marijuana Cases

Drug related DUI has its own penalties, but did you know you could potentially lose your license if charged with marijuana possession even if you're not driving? The state of Georgia treats marijuana cases very seriously. If you are facing even a possession of drug charge, you should speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney right away.

Minor In Possession Of Alcohol

The state of Georgia treats minors in possession of alcohol very seriously. If you are under 21 and caught with alcohol or even attempting to buy alcohol, you could be in a lot of trouble. Not only would you be facing fines and increased insurance rates, minors found with alcohol often lose their licenses for 120 days with no option for obtaining a restricted license. That will make getting to work and/or school very difficult.

Prior DUI Convictions

If you have been arrested for a second, third, or even fourth DUI, you should get a DUI lawyer immediately. Only an experienced DUI lawyer will be able to help you minimize the steep penalties imposed on repeat DUI offenders. If you are arrested for DUI of any kind and have a previous DUI conviction on your record in from the last 5 years, you could be facing serious repercussions.

DUI Roadblocks

Under Georgia law roadside sobriety checkpoints can be placed throughout Henry County. Law enforcement cannot set up these checkpoints up at random, they must announce where the checkpoint will be and follow certain guidelines. When you get stopped at a checkpoint and are asked if you have been drinking, you may decline answering the question. However, you must provide the officer with your license, registration and insurance if asked.  While most DUI arrests stem from when an officer pulls over your car, Henry Co. DUI officers also periodically conduct roadblocks.  At a roadblock, every vehicle must be stopped and the roadblock must meet some other specified criteria to be constitutional.

Suspended License

Has your license been suspended due to a DUI offense? If so, contact the DUI Attorneys at Lawson and Berry today. There is a good chance that we can do something to help you. In fact, a driver's license suspension can usually be appealed with the help of one of our lawyers. A suspended license can make it hard for you to attend school or work and to take care of your family. There are many things we can do to improve your situation so call us today.

Vehicular Homicide

One of the most serious criminal charges someone can face is vehicular homicide. Not only is this type of event heartbreaking for all individuals involved, it can have long lasting consequences. Even if it was entirely an accident, a conviction for vehicular homicide can lead to years in prison. Our firm is very knowledgeable in this field and has experience dealing in all types of DUI cases, including vehicular homicide.

Violation Of Probation

If you are on probation then you know the terms can often be steep. They may include such things as alcohol restriction, community service, mandatory participation in a risk reduction alcohol program, fines and more depending upon what you were convicted of. If you do not acceptably follow the terms of your probation, you will be charged with a probation violation. This most likely means jail time while you await a hearing. Probation violations are not something to take likely and having legal representation is crucial in such situations.

Winning Your DUI Case

 The goal of any DUI case is to get the best results possible.  Winning your Henry County DUI case is probably why you are reading this.  But winning your DUI case can mean different things to different people.  Some drivers want to have the charges completely dropped or be found “not guilty” of all charges.  Others want the DUI reduced.  Some are content just to keep their license.  We devise different plans of attack depending upon the facts of your case and your goals.

Choosing A DUI Lawyer

 Many lawyers will accept a fee and agree to represent you in a Henry County DUI case.  However, relatively few lawyers are “DUI – only” lawyers.  The attorneys at Lawson and Berry have devoted their practice to DUI law.  We knows the ins and outs of DUI law and are not a general practice lawyer.  Many of our attorneys are former DUI prosecutors and help their clients get the best results on even the most challenging of DUI cases.

Alternative Sentences

 If this is your first DUI, you probably have many questions regarding the potential sentences.  Is jail time required for a first DUI?  Can this be served on house arrest?  What about a reduction of the DUI to a reckless driving?  Find answers to these questions here.

Henry County DUI Court

 The term “DUI Court” is a bit of a misnomer.  Everyone who has a DUI charge goes to court for their DUI.  However, DUI Court refers to an intensive court run treatment program that is a possible option for repeat DUI offenders who live in Henry County.  The DUI Court program is challenging and is not for everyone.  A Henry Co. DUI lawyer should be consulted first to see if it is a good option for you.

Prescription Drug DUI

 More and more Henry County DUI cases concern driving under the influence of medications.  In addition to over the counter drugs (like cold medicine), you can even get charged with a DUI in Henry County if you are driving after taking your lawfully prescribed medicine if the officer who stops you feels that you are not safe to drive.

Marijuana Drug Related DUI

 Henry County drivers are also commonly charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.  This can be a very serious DUI charge as the consequence for being convicted, even for a first lifetime count of driving under the influence of marijuana, is a 6 month suspension of your Georgia driver's license with no limited permit available.

Possession Of Marijuana

Did you know that you could potentially lose your license if you charged with marijuana possession even if you're not driving?  The state of Georgia treats marijuana cases very seriously. If you are facing even a simple possession of a drug charge, you should speak with a knowledgeable Henry County lawyer right away.  Depending on the amount of marijuana in your possession, prosecutors can charge you with misdemeanor or felony marijuana possession.

Habitual Violator

 If you have multiple DUI convictions (or any traffic convictions for that matter), you can be given Habitual Violator, or HV, status.  This can lead to long term license suspensions and prison time.

First DUI

 Even a first time DUI offense in Henry County is no slap on the wrist.  A license suspension, jail time, and high fines and fees accompany the charge.  Often, a Henry Co. DUI lawyer can help you negotiate these hurdles and come away with the best possible outcome.

Second DUI

 A Second Henry County DUI generally requires at least 3 days in jail and can lead to a driver's license suspension of over a year and the installation of an ignition interlock device.  There are options available and an experienced Henry Co. DUI lawyer can help.

Third DUI Repeat DUI

If you are a repeat DUI offender, Henry County judges and prosecutors will not look fondly at your record.  Long jail sentences, high and aggravated misdemeanor treatment, potential felony treatment, long term license suspensions, DUI Court, lengthy probation and high fines and fees are among the potential consequences.

Best Henry County DUI Lawyer

In order to win your Henry County DUI case, you are going to need superior legal representation.  Henry County DUI Lawyers are in a league of their own; they have dedicated htheiris entire legal career to DUI law.  In over 20 years of practicing DUI law, Lawson and Berry have successfully resolved over 6,000 cases.

Best Henry County DUI Attorney

You should contact the legal team at Lawson and Berry immediately following your Henry County DUI arrest. They can improve your chances of a positive outcome when given as much time as possible to assess your situation and devise a strategy. Your case will need to be reviewed thoroughly in order to determine what defense tactics would be best.  Often, there are strong defense possibilities to a DUI cases that can only be discovered after the case is examined carefully by the lawyer.  Contact the firm as soon as possible, as timing is critical in DUI cases.

Hit And Run

Lawyers at our office have represented many individuals with hit and run charges.  Sometimes the hit and run is in conjunction with a DUI charge and sometimes it is not.  Either way, a hit and run is a very serious offense and you face a lengthy license suspension without the use of a limited work or school permit.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a serious traffic offense that can apply to several dangerous driving situations.  Generally, it is 4 points on your Georgia license and may be punished by up to 12 months in jail.  In some situations, a DUI charge can be amended to a reckless driving charge.  This can help drivers avoid a license suspension and some of the stigma associated with a DUI.

Refusals Of A Blood Or Breath Test

If you refused the blood test or the breath test that the arresting officer asked you to take, you have helped your case by depriving the Henry Co. DUI prosecutors of a key piece of evidence against you.  However, the state of Georgia Department of Driver Services doesn't let you off the hook so easily.  Georgia Driver Services usually seeks to suspend your driver's license or the right to drive in Georgia (if you have an out of state license) for up to a year.  Contact a DUI lawyer today to find out how he or she can help.

Plea Bargains V. Going To Trial

Some drivers facing DUI charges just want to keep their license and stay out of jail.  Others want to get the DUI reduced or dismissed.  Some drivers are wrongfully arrested and charged for DUI and want their name cleared.  The lawyers at Lawson and Berry are trial attorneys who can help you fight your case at motions and trial.  We can also help you negotiate a plea bargain with the Henry Co. prosecutors to try to resolve your case with terms you can live with.

DUI 30 Day Warning

To avoid suspension of your driver's license, a letter must be sent to the Department of Driver's Services within 30 days of your arrest. If you don't do it, you will lose your driving privilege. Call immediately to assure that your right to drive is protected.

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Over 20 Years of Experience

Richard Lawson is a former DUI prosecutor who focuses exclusively DUI. Contact the legal team at The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson immediately after any DUI arrest. Experience is the difference.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

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