By Frank Acotella, Esq.
Drunk driving is a serious matter in the State of Georgia. If you are convicted of a DUI charge then you could face a long list of consequences and penalties.
The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety outlines some of the standard consequences associated with a DUI conviction in the State of Georgia which can include:
- Court Appearances
- Jail Time
- Suspended License
- Criminal Record
- Court-Ordered DUI Risk Reduction Class
It is important that you understand how to deal with a DUI charge in order to minimize the consequences and refrain from repeating the same mistakes and getting in more trouble. Let's discuss the steps you should take if you have been charged with a DUI.
Consult With An Attorney
Navigating through a DUI charge is going to be difficult if you do so on your own. The laws are confusing and you may unknowingly do more harm to yourself than good. It is in your best interests to consult with a legal professional who understands Georgia's DUI laws. An attorney can help you understand the laws and help you prepare your case. You will probably still face a punishment for your actions, but the punishment may not be as harsh if you have an attorney on your side.
Show Up For Court
As any attorney will tell you, it is imperative that you show up to all court appearances. Your main goal in this situation is to minimize the consequences, both short and long-term, of being charged with a DUI. Therefore, you must keep in mind that if you miss a court appearance, you may be charged as guilty by default. If you are unable to keep your appointment with the court, call the court immediately and try to reschedule. Missing a court appointment tells the judge you don't care and that is not going to work in your favor.
Carry Out Your Sentence
You must abide by the judge's orders. You may be sentenced to jail or have to pay expensive fines. Another possible outcome is you could be required to perform so many hours of community service and then be on probation for a certain amount of time. Your sentence could be any combination of these. It depends on what the judge decides.
Take a DUI Risk Reduction Class
Along with your sentence, Georgia law mandates that any person charged with a DUI take a DUI risk reduction class. Therefore, you should register for a class as soon as possible. Such a program is designed to help an individual with drug and alcohol problems as well as helping them understand the risks associated with driving under the influence. If you have been charged with any of the following in Georgia, you will be required to take one of the following classes:
- Drug and Alcohol Possession
- Underage Drinking
- Boating Under the Influence
- Reckless Driving
In Georgia, the DUI risk reduction class is 20 hours and in some circumstances can be completed online. Costs vary depending on which company provides the class. Additional hours may be required depending on the number of DUI offenses you have. Reinstatement of your license depends on you being able to successfully complete this class. If you're working toward getting your license back, sign up for the class as soon as possible and complete it in a timely manner.
Do Not Take The Charge Lightly
Now that you know what comes with a DUI charge, do not take it lightly. From this point on, you should be determined to refrain from driving drunk. You know the problems it causes and the potential devastation that could come from it. Therefore, if you know you've had too much to drink, give the keys to someone else or take a taxi. No one's life is worth you driving drunk.
Frank Acocella Esq., leads the New York DUILegalNY.com defense team. Frank fights for the rights of drivers charged with DWI, DWAI and other intoxicated driving charges throughout the State of New York.