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How may pleading no contest to a DUI affect underage drivers?

| Feb 16, 2021 | DUI

Some college students mistakenly believe that by pleading nolo contendere or “no contest” they may avoid penalties for driving under the influence. Georgia’s statute O.C.G.A. 40-6-391.1, however, requires you to attend a drug or alcohol course regardless of a plea. 

Even if you decide not to contest a DUI charge, a judge may order you to serve a traditional sentence, which could include a treatment program. You may need to work out a new schedule to coincide with your court-ordered attendance at meetings or counseling sessions. 

How long could a DUI sentence last?

As noted by U.S. News and World Report, a first-time DUI conviction may result in spending up to one year in jail and paying a fine of up to $1,000. You may also need to perform 40 hours of community service while completing your courses and counseling. 

Second and third DUI convictions require offenders to undergo a clinical evaluation. In some cases, a motorist may need to receive professional treatment for substance or alcohol abuse before the court restores driving privileges. 

How long can it take for a license reinstatement?

Underage drinking generally results in a license suspension for at least one year. Not having the ability to drive may affect how you travel to work or school. Some Peach State judges order motorists to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. 

Pleading “no contest” may represent a compromise in terms of punishment, but it may also deprive you of an option to win your DUI case. The circumstances of the traffic stop and the blood alcohol content testing may weaken the prosecutor’s case against you. You may have an opportunity to maintain your driving privileges and see your case dismissed. 

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