The short-term inconvenience of a drunk driving arrest often dominates someone’s thoughts while they deal with the police on the side of the road. They don’t want to spend the night in jail or call people they know to help them secure their vehicle.

It may only be after they regain their freedom after their temporary incarceration that individuals start considering the long-term implications of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. A criminal judge in Georgia has the authority to hand down numerous criminal consequences if someone please guilty or gets convicted during a trial. These are the three most common criminal consequences imposed for DUI offenses in Georgia.

Fines

Financial penalties are among the most common criminal consequences for a DUI conviction. State law provides a range of fines for different DUI offenses that a judge can impose. A first-time DUI that did not result in harm to another person could lead to fines of as little as $300. Repeat offenders and those who cause collisions that injure others might pay much larger fines of as much as $5,000.

Incarceration

A single night in jail is far from the worst-case scenario after a DUI conviction. Much lengthier times in state custody are possible when someone has multiple offenses or other aggravating factors that increase the penalties they face. While the jail time for a first DUI could be as little as that initial night in custody or as long as a year, more serious offenses carry higher minimum sentences and are more likely to lead to jail time.

Driver’s license suspension

Suspending someone’s driver’s license is a reasonable response to an impaired driving offense. The state can deprive someone of their driving privileges for up to a full year for a first offense. Repeat offenders and those involved in more severe scenarios, such as those facing allegations related to a crash where someone got injured or died, could potentially result in five years without driving privileges.

Despite what many people believe, pleading guilty does not guarantee leniency during sentencing. Judges still have the authority to impose the penalties they see fit based on state statutes. Therefore, many people accused of a Georgia DUI find it worthwhile to fight their pending charges with the assistance of an attorney so that they can have a chance to preserve their freedom, their finances and their driving privileges.