Georgia’s DUI laws have a reputation for being especially strict, whether rightly or wrongly.
The best way to stay out of their way, of course, is to drive sober. It’s also critical to know your rights in any traffic stop and remember that legal representation is one of those rights.
The potential penalties for even a first-time DUI conviction in Georgia can be harsh. You could face at least 24 hours in jail followed by a year of probation without a driver’s license, and 40 hours of community service.
DUI school can be a serious matter
Many people find these punishments more familiar than Georgia’s DUI assessment, education and treatment system. Most states have comparable programs.
Sometimes referred to as “DUI school,” it may not sound like anything to take especially seriously.
In some cases, successful participation can reduce your other, more disruptive penalties. But it can be a significant commitment of time and money that could get out of hand if its demands aren’t satisfied.
Unless waived in court, everyone convicted of a DUI in Georgia is clinically evaluated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.
This evaluation may trigger mandatory participation in a “risk reduction course.”
Georgia’s risk reduction course isn’t cheap
DUI school is part of your sentence and, as in prison, you’re not in the driver’s seat.
The price you pay for attending is set by Georgia statute at $355 for the entire course. You’ll probably want to pay that cost only once.
Showing up late or missing one DUI class can bump you back to the beginning of the course to start all over again, including paying all over again.
Risk reduction assessment and risk reduction education
First, the course consists of an assessment with 130 questions evaluating the extent and effects of your drug and alcohol use.
Depending on the results, you would then attend a 20-hour course of “therapeutic education and peer group counseling” with an instructor and at least 4 fellow program participants.
The course may be over in less than a week, depending on its schedule. To avoid missing a class, study that schedule closely before choosing a course.