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Having a few cocktails with friends at dinner may not seem like a big deal but driving home after a few (or more) cocktails, however, is a big deal. According to MADD, (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), 30 percent of fatal car accidents are related to alcohol, and on weekends specifically, that number goes up to 51 percent. Drivers convicted of a DUI, or driving under the influence, stand to receive tough penalties including possible jail time and a mark on their record that potential employers and insurance companies may hold against them in the future.
Basic DUI Laws in Georgia
Georgia’s DUI laws enforce the legal limit of .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) for all drivers. Georgia also applies a law nick-named “stop and snatch,” which allows a peace officer to effect an immediate license suspension for individuals found to have a BAC of .08 percent or higher. If a driver is found to have a BAC lower than the legal limit, from .05 percent to .07 percent, he can be arrested for a DUI if a peace officer witnessed him driving erratically or dangerously. Georgia enforces the zero-tolerance law, holding underage drivers liable for drunk driving if found with a blood alcohol level of .02%. Additionally, Georgia upholds the implied consent law, which means drivers agree to submit to a chemical test for blood, breath or urine if an officer has a reasonable cause to request testing. Drivers who refuse to undergo testing will receive more severe penalties if convicted.
Penalties for Driving under the Influence
For drivers convicted of a first offense DUI, Georgia laws require suspension of a driver’s license for up to one year. Drivers may attempt to regain the use of their license by applying for a restricted driving permit. The request may be granted for medical treatment, college or a work commute. Additionally, drivers may be able to gain an early license reinstatement by paying a fee of $210 and completing an approved driving school. First offenders will also be required to perform a minimum of 40 hours community service, and will need to pay fines ranging from $300-$1,000. Additionally, a jail sentence may be included, from 10 days up to one year.
Second offenders receive heavier penalties, with jail time ranging from three months to one year, fines increasing from $600-$1,000, a possible three-year license suspension, and a requirement to complete an alcohol or drug treatment program or evaluation. Additionally, if the court allows a driver to regain at least partial use of his license, he may be required to install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle. Jail time increases to a minimum of four months for third offenders, and can go up to five years for fourth and subsequent offenders. Third and fourth offenders also pay from $1,000-$5,000 in fines, and will be subject to a license suspension of at least five years.
Georgia’s SR-22 Requirements
SR-22 insurance is required for drivers who have been convicted of driving under the influence, and must be carried for three years. An insurance company must complete an SR-22 certificate before it provides SR-22 insurance to a driver. The SR-22 certificate is filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles, as verification of an individual’s compliance with minimum required insurance coverage. Drivers convicted of a DUI are required to carry the minimum amount of liability insurance according to state law, and if they choose to let the coverage lapse during the required three-year period, the insurance company is obligated to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once notified, the DMV will immediately suspend the driver’s license. Additionally, the three-year carrying period resets, and the driver must pay another fee and file another SR-22 certificate to reinstate his policy and carry it for another three-year period.
How much is Car Insurance after a DUI in Georgia?
Any driver who has been convicted of a DUI is probably aware that car insurance is going to be more expensive for the next several years. Each insurance company considers several factors when pricing insurance, including the driver’s age, the make and model of his vehicle and driving history. Once a person receives a DUI conviction, the insurance company automatically places him in a high-risk category, which immediately increases the cost of insurance. Additionally, some insurance companies may cancel a driver’s insurance immediately upon a DUI conviction. In Georgia, a DUI stays on a driver’s record forever.
Georgia Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Although SR-22 insurance can be costly and a little bit more difficult to find, certain insurance companies specialize in this type of high-risk insurance. These insurers usually specialize in the process of filing the SR-22 form, and can expedite the whole insurance process. Drivers with a DUI arrest may want to consider hiring an experienced DUI attorney, since they may be able to get a DUI reduced to a lesser charge that does not require SR-22 insurance.
Additionally, carrying only the minimum liability insurance required by the state will keep costs down, rather than paying for comprehensive and collision insurance. Buying an older car, especially a domestic sedan type vehicle that is 10 years old or more can save money, since older vehicles cost less to insure. Most importantly, though, shopping around and getting quotes from several insurance companies can be the easiest way to save the most money on SR-22 insurance. Get started with your car insurance comparison search today and compare quotes from multiple car insurance companies online.