Georgia ranked as one of the strictest on DUI enforcement

According to a recent study, Georgia is one of the most strict states in the country when it comes to cracking down on people convicted of drinking and driving.

People accused of drinking and driving in Georgia likely already know that there are some serious consequences to such convictions. However, they may not be aware that the state is among the most stringent when it comes to imposing penalties on people found guilty of the crime.

A recent study evaluated how states and Washington, D.C., punish and prevent drunk driving. Researchers determined that Georgia came in second place in terms of the criminal penalties associated with DUI.

Determining rank

The study, conducted by WalletHub.com and published in August of this year, used 15 factors to assess how each state and D.C. penalized drunk drivers or used prevention tactics. Factors including minimum jail sentences, child endangerment laws and felony DUI determinants were considered. Researchers also wanted to know if the state levied additional penalties against drivers who had blood alcohol concentrations above a certain threshold and what minimum fines, if any, would be.

After weighing all the data, Georgia was found to come in second place in terms of criminal penalties. Some of the information that pushed the state to the top of the list includes the following:

  • A fourth DUI in Georgia is an automatic felony.
  • Past DUIs will factor into present punishments for as long as seven years.
  • There are minimum jail sentences for both first and second convictions.
  • After a second DUI conviction, installing an ignition interlock device is mandatory.

The state also imposes additional penalties for people whose BAC is above 0.15 and requires people convicted of drunk driving to take an alcohol assessment course.

Other penalties

In addition to the factors that these researchers took into account, there are a number of other consequences to a DUI in Georgia. These punishments are based largely on how many previous convictions someone has had as well as whether or not there were aggravating factors.

For example, as the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety points out, someone who has committed a third offense that comes within five years of the second DUI conviction will lose his or her driving privileges for five years and have to commit at least 30 days of community service. Further, the person's photo and information will be published in the local newspaper. Even someone who has committed a first offense will be required to complete 40 hours of community service and could lose his or her license for as long as one year.

A DUI conviction can harm someone's ability to secure a job and creates a permanent mark on a criminal record. This study and the consequences of drunk driving illustrate the importance of speaking to a criminal defense attorney in Georgia the moment charges are brought.