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Your first DUI in Georgia: What happens to your driver's license?

All Georgia motorists agree to abide by the state's implied consent law when they first receive their driver's license. This entitles any law enforcement officer that suspects that you're operating a vehicle while intoxicated to conduct necessary chemical testing to find out for sure if you are.

Any motorist that refuses to participate in testing will automatically have their Georgia driver's license suspended for an entire year. If you're later convicted of your first driving under the influence (DUI) charge, then you will become ineligible for a limited permit if you apply for one.

Much like what happens if you refuse either breathalyzer or blood alcohol content (BAC) testing, if you do comply with testing and fail it, then you too will have your license suspended for an entire year, even if it's your first offense. Unlike what happens with the chemical testing refusal, though, you can apply to have your license reinstated after a 120-day waiting period has passed.

To qualify for reinsatement, you'll need to provide the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) with a copy of a certificate showing that you have completed one of its many approved drug or alcohol DUI risk reduction programs. You'll also need to pay the $200 mail-in reinstatment fee or pay $210 at the court clerk's office.

In some instances, a limited permit may be extended to you before the 120 days have elapsed if the court can be shown that not having your license creates some type of undue hardship on your family. If these privileges are approved, then you may be restricted to only driving between your's or your child's school, your attorney's office or court, to see the doctor or to work. If you're stopped going anywhere else, then those limited privileges could also be revoked.

If you're facing your first DUI charge in Georgia, then it's important to know that a conviction on your record can greatly impact your ability to land or maintain employment. In learning more about your case, an Athens DUI first offense attorney can advise you of your rights in your case.

Source: Georgia Department of Driver Services, "Reinstatement FAQs - Driving under the influence (DUI) (First offense): Drivers age 21 and over," accessed Nov. 24, 2017