97 Consequences of a Georgia DUI Conviction

By: William C. Head, Attorney at Law, Atlanta, GA
© 2015 All Rights Reserved

Court-related GA DUI Consequences

1. DUI Convictions in Georgia are FOREVER – no expunction law in GA (can’t be
removed from record and a conviction will NOT “age” off). You take it to the GRAVE.

2. Mandatory probation which will be for one year minus any days in jail for misdemeanor
offenses; five years of probation required for felony 4th (or more) offense in 10 years
(minus any prison time served).

3. Jail – up to 12 months on misdemeanor offenses; up to 5 years for felony DUI offenses.

4. Fine – Misdemeanors – up to $ 1,000 + surcharges (+/- $ 1,950) for first or second DUI;
up to $5,000 + surcharges (+/- $ 8,500) for third or fourth DUI. [GA law increased
surcharges in 2013].

5. Major rental car companies will not rent vehicles to anyone with DUI conviction (length
of time varies from 3 to 6 years, depending on company).

6. Mandatory DUI School – 20 hour course must be taken, at a minimum.

7. Ignition Interlock device installation will be required on any second offender in 5 years to
be able to obtain early license reinstatement, and some judges require interlock on
virtually all repeat offenders who are second offenders in 10 years. Some judges even for
a “first” offense under GA law, if circumstances merit such installation. Persons licensed
by other states that have a mandatory first offense interlock laws may require those
drivers to install an interlock if the GA conviction gets reported to their home state.

8. Creates a prior offense to be used to sentencing on future offenses, even if a nolo
contendere disposition is allowed. Georgia has “mandatory minimum” sentencing. See
www.DUI.tv/galaws.pdf

9. A “second (or more) in five year” DUI offender must turn in all motor vehicle tags on all
motor vehicles he or she owns. Then, if “necessity” to drive one of those vehicles can be
shown by an eligible family member, he or she can apply with GA Commissioner of
Revenue for “special” license plate for any cars allowed to be driven by family members,
if repeat offender lost all tags of vehicles titled in his or her name as a result of
conviction. The aggrieved family member (who has no other mode of transport) must
prove “hardship”.

10. DUI is the only motor vehicle offense that shows up on NCIC database (national crime
information center, Quantico, VA). This is kept by the FBI.

11. Mandatory minimum community service hours – 40 to 480 hours required, depending on
first or multiple DUI offenses. See www.DUI.tv/galaws.pdf for details.

12. For repeat offenders, the “DUI Court” program – is in place in several major
metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Savannah, Decatur, McDonough, Canton, Marietta,
Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Cumming, Gainesville, Columbus, Macon, Athens) courts are
imposing a long and costly “DUI Court” program that requires weekly court visits with
drug screening and mandates weekly attendance and proof of court-ordered alcohol or
drug treatment. These courts reward those who “voluntarily” submit to entering the
program by holding Draconian jail terms over their heads as the alternative after
conviction.

13. By virtue of a recent US Supreme Court case, Maryland v. King, 569 U.S. ___ (2013),
states now are utilizing DNA swabbing inside the mouths of SOME arrestees, which
could lead to another arrest for pending charges related to that DNA evidence on the
CODIS database.

14. A letter writing campaign may be directed at you from MADD or other “critics” of DUI
offenders, especially where an accident with injuries is involved. In some cases, we have
seen such activism scuttle a negotiated “deal” for our clients.

GA Driver’s License Consequences

15. License suspension (length varies, depending on prior DUI convictions and dates of those
convictions).

16. No license will be issued without insurance. For repeat offenders, SR-22 (assigned risk
insurance, at higher rates due to the driver’s bad history) for 3 years to maintain driving
privileges once they are reinstated.

17. Commercial driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year (first offender) or (for any
second lifetime DUI conviction or ALS action) CDL license is revoked for life.

18. If caught driving on a suspended license, car is impounded and you will face a new
criminal case with mandatory jail time if you are convicted.

19. If driving on a “work permit” (issued for DUI convictions in most cases) outside the
approved hours and locations, that permit will be revoked and a new misdemeanor
offense for driving outside the permissible restrictions, with mandatory jail time, if
convicted.

20. Under the Georgia Administrative License Suspension (ALS) law, your plastic driver’s
license is confiscated at the time of DUI arrest and a temporary permit is issued, so you
may be deprived of the physical “license” until your case is either dismissed, reduced or
you are acquitted. If you file a timely appeal (within 10 business days after the date of
your arrest) your attorney may be able to negotiate or otherwise achieve a rescission of
your pending administrative suspension. If ultimately convicted of DUI, any ALS loss of
license is credited against the mandatory license suspension or revocation created by your
criminal conviction.

21. If the DUI is for a “drugs” related DUI conviction, both the mandatory minimum
surcharges and total license loss (no limited right to drive given) is greater in GA.

22. In GA, if you are a second DUI offender in five (5) years, once you obtain a limited,
ignition-interlock mandated right-to-drive, you still cannot transport your minor children
until your full driver’s license is restored. That will be 18 months after date of the
conviction, for a second DUI offender within 5 years, assuming that you have otherwise
completed all reinstatement conditions. For third DUI offenders within 5 years, the time
frame is much longer before children can be transported.

23. In GA, if you are a second DUI offender within five (5) years, once you obtain a limited,
ignition interlock-mandated right-to-drive, you are not permitted the right to drive to and
from seeing your children on this permit, or to see other family members. It is a “workonly”
limited permit, with other very restricted right to drive for treatment and reporting
to probation.

24. Due to changes in Georgia law in 2012 and 2013, if you are a first DUI-alcohol offender
in 5 years, and you submitted to an implied consent test after your DUI arrest, you will be
eligible for a limited permit that permits broader list of permitted uses, such as
transporting minor children to and from medical appointments and school, but NOT for
other purposes, such as vacation. Typically, the full license is obtainable after 120 days,
but only if all reinstatement conditions and fees have been paid.

25. The provisions set forth above are for DUI-alcohol offenders. If your conviction is for
DUI-drugs, you will not be eligible for such immediate limited permit.
Insurance Consequences

26. Possible increased insurance cost (or denial of coverage, with lowest cost carriers) for
some health insurance carriers.

27. Life Insurance companies will typically deny policy issuance or raise rates (you won’t
qualify for best “preferred risk” rates).

28. If lose all driving privileges, your vehicle may remain uninsured for over 6 months. This
“gap” in coverage will boost your rates upon reinstatement, since your “new” carrier may
be socked with a claim that arose during the “gap” period.

29. If in accident that would be covered by worker’s compensation law, claim could be
denied if proof of DUI (an illegal act) causing your injuries is proven such that your
benefits can be denied.

30. Almost every liability insurance carrier in America has a contractual exclusion of any
punitive damages that may be awarded against you (by a jury or by a judge, if a jury is
not used) in a DUI-accident case causing injuries to another person or persons. By way of
example, actual damages (for hospital bills, lost wages, and pain in suffering) could be
only $100,000, but that same jury may award $500,000 in punitive damages to punish
you for getting drunk and causing this wreck that injured another innocent party. This
amount is NOT covered by your insurance, and must be paid by you.

Travel and Immigration Consequences

31. Total denial of ability to immigrate to some countries (e.g., Canada).

32. Business or personal trips to some foreign countries, such as Canada, may be blocked or
extremely difficult to obtain. Pre-application through the Canadian consulate is required,
even for a short visit for pleasure or business.

33. Denial of naturalization (not allowed to become U.S. citizen through taking the
citizenship exam) for 5 years after DUI case is closed out.

34. Possible deportation from U.S. to country of origin, if not a U.S. citizen, but usually only
when multiple criminal convictions while in the U.S.A. or a felony-level DUI case such
as “serious injury by vehicle” or “homicide by vehicle.”.

35. “Green” card renewal or work visa renewal can be denied or delayed.

36. If you possess no proper proof of current legal residency in U.S.A., you may be detained
by a county sheriff or municipal detention office for I.N.S. (federal immigration) pickup.

37. Travel from U.S.A. and back to the U.S.A. can be delayed at customs, or even prohibited
altogether. This inconvenience can last for hours or even days, causing you to miss
connecting flights.

38. Restriction on being able to ship a hunting rifle to some countries for sporting or
recreational purposes, if you have a DUI conviction on record.

39. Second LIFETIME DUI with a cumulative probation of over 12 months may trigger
provisions of “The Interstate Compact” – see www.interstatecompact.org, section 2.105
and the dozen or so subsequent provisions – you may not be allowed to move to or even
travel to another state while on probation, without permission of your sentencing state
and permission of the incoming state.

GA DUI Employment Consequences

40. Automotive franchisees have a “morals” clause in their agreements with manufacturers,
so DUI may cause loss of multi-million dollar contract for dealership.

41. If licensed as a broker under federal or state securities laws, can lose ability to be a broker
(e.g., series 7, series 63).

42. Job applications – must always check the box “yes” when asked about convictions and
disclose to the prospective employer.

43. Professional license applications – any of the “licensed professions” can withhold or
delay licensure or initiate revocation proceedings if you failed to disclose and it is
discovered later (e.g., State Bar for attorneys, Medical Board of physicians, Board of
Education for teachers).

44. Employee manual from your job may require disclosure to the Human Resources
department. Then, a company official decides on termination, demotion or mandatory
“rehabilitation.”

45. Loss of company vehicle with associated loss of the financial savings from not having to
own and maintain another vehicle. If you are allowed to remain in your current job, the
mileage allowance is generally not nearly as favorable as the benefit of using a company
vehicle.

46. Loss of company insurance for your company-issued vehicle. The rules as to how much
insurance you must have on any personal vehicle used to carry out company business, to
protect your company in case of another DUI-related arrest involving an accident, may
be unattainable due to high cost or no insurer willing to sign on to a high risk driver
seeking a $5 million liability policy.

47. If your company has rental car contract with Avis, National or Hertz, but license check
through your state’s DMV/DPS by those companies’ computer shows a DUI, access to a
rental car will be denied. If the rental car company denies your access to their vehicles,
and your company will not pay for another rental car company, you may not be able to
perform your job duties. [Ask your attorney which companies may still rent a car to you].

48. Some businesses and government entities will not permit you (after a DUI conviction) to
drive their large trucks or vehicles that mandate you having a CDL endorsed license, due
to their perception of the higher risk you pose in driving these inherently dangerous,
heavy vehicles. School bus drivers and tractor-trailer drivers are two categories of
employers that carefully screen their drivers’ entire driving histories.

49. Concealed weapons permits may be denied (which can lead to loss of employment in jobs
that require you to carry a weapon).

50. Some industries/employers will terminate you immediately upon conviction, (e. g., any
pharmaceutical sales company, State Farm Insurance employee, companies with a
preferred “group” liability insurance rate with major insurance that is conditioned on
having NO EMPLOYEES with a DUI conviction.)

51. Security clearance will be denied or revoked at military bases or similar businesses that
“contract” with the U.S. Government on high security clearance (e.g., nuclear power
plants).

52. Military superior officers may sanction any service member by denying privileges on the
base, and impose other restrictions on duties. Examples of sanctions are denial of a
promotion in rank, removal from command position, restricted to military base, denial of
privilege to drive on any military property or any military vehicle, denial of the right to
“re-up” when present contract is over (can cause you to miss valuable retirement benefits
for staying in the military for 20 or more years).

53. Personnel in military who are about to be deployed to combat duty (Iraq or Afghanistan)
can be pulled out of deployment and may be discharged from military service, possibly
by general discharge or even dishonorable discharge.

54. Denial of admission to many professional schools, (e.g., law school, medical school,
dental school, nursing, physical therapy certification).

55. Commercial or private pilot’s license can be revoked or withheld as a result of any
administrative driver’s license suspension or a DUI conviction. Failure to make timely
report (within 30 days) to FAA can revoke pilot’s license.

56. Teacher can lose an existing job, in certain schools and counties, both private and public.

57. All branches of military will delay your enlistment until all probation is terminated, so
delay can affect plans.

58. Doctors or dentists can be suspended from practice until “rehabilitated” for alcohol
dependency or drug dependency. His or her DEA permit to dispense medications such as
anesthesia or hydrocodone can be withdrawn permanently or for period of time, to be
later reconsidered by the applicable Board.

59. “Pouring” license to serve alcohol (bartender) can be denied by applicable city or county
board if you have DUI or if you are on probation for DUI.

60. Union contracts often call for and require reporting of any DUI convictions. Failure to
report can cause loss of union membership.

61. CPAs with larger firms are required to report a DUI conviction under the full financial
disclosure rules of the federal Sarbarnes-Oxley Act.

62. Cosmetologist license can be suspended in GA for repeat DUI offenders.

63. College sports athlete can lose scholarship is repeated alcohol-related offenses.

64. Pro athlete with repeated DUI offenses can be banned from League until and unless
rehabilitated.

GA DUI Financial Consequences

65. Civil judgment, including punitive damages, if accident related to DUI. See section 25,
above, concerning how punitive damages are NOT covered, and you could have to pay
all of these “out-of-pocket.”

66. Alcohol and drug dependency screening may indicate that treatment is needed, and this
may cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to complete, especially if you
have to hire a taxi or other transportation to get you to and from the treatment locations.

67. Interest rates for loans, including home loans, may be higher for you or or only available
with high-risk loan companies.

68. Inability to rent an apartment in “trendy” area, because you, as a tenant, would be
considered “higher risk” if you are on probation.

69. Your credit score can be negatively affected by a DUI conviction being reported.

70. Typically, you cannot buy new car without FULL plastic driver’s license in your
possession (Homeland Security Act).

71. Restitution – You can be court-ordered to repay DUI-accident related property damages
or medical bills to an injured third party – as part of your probation.

72. Probation fees typically run $40 to $50 +/- per month, or $480 to $600 per year.

73. If sentenced to state prison on a felony, once you start seeking a modification of sentence
or parole/probation, you will often have to agree to repay your victim or victims (or the
descendants of victims who died) over an extended time period as part of a “negotiated”
early release package. These payout plans generally call for high 5-figures totals or even
6-figure totals, over time.

Unrelated Legal Consequences

74. Child custody (where a divorce is pending or is already in place) where other spouse uses
your DUI conviction as “leverage” to obtain a change of custody, visitation or even
change which parent is the primary custodial parent. A family law judge can limit the
DUI offender’s right to transport or even be with a minor child, except with supervision
by another adult.

75. County-issued concealed weapons permit may be denied or not renewed.

76. Accident caused by DUI where others are injured or killed, can lead to the personal injury
claim becoming NON-DISCHARGEABLE in federal bankruptcy courts. This means that
your wages can be garnished indefinitely, until the full debt created by the judgment is
paid in full. See 11 U.S.C.A. § 523(a) (9).

77. No “first offender” status available on DUI – prohibited by statute in Georgia.

78. In GA, if you go to trial, a jury cannot find that you were a “reckless driver” under 40-6-
390, instead of DUI. A reckless driving conviction is NOT a lesser included offense of a
DUI accusation.

79. No “youthful offender” statute available under Georgia DUI laws.

80. If you are repeat offender, a judge may require that you meet certain conditions while the
new case is pending, prior to the disposition of your new DUI, such as installing an
ignition interlock system on any vehicle that you drive or wearing a transdermal ankle
bracelet.

81. If you are convicted of a felony DUI conviction, you cannot possess any firearms or
ammunition. 18 U.S.C.A. § 922.
Education

82. A college or university may sanction you — separate from ALS and criminal cases — for
using alcohol illegally (either DUI or possession of alcohol) any time offense occurs on
campus property. Some colleges go beyond this to include any reported arrest or
conviction. Typical sanction is suspension for a semester or quarter, plus possible alcohol
or drug treatment classes

83. If recipient of H.O.P.E. scholarship in GA, if for a drug-related crime, results in loss of
scholarship, if convicted (DUI or other drug-related criminal offenses) of the drug-related
charge (including DUI-drugs). Other private scholarships also typically contain some
type of “morals” clause for bad behavior that may bring disrepute upon the reputation of
the memorial scholarship, that was given in honor of an alumni or politician.

84. If you were planning a study abroad program, whether voluntary or mandated by your
degree program (e.g., executive MBA), you are typically prevented from going with the
other participants if you have a pending case or are currently on probation. Each program
decides their rules, and some are much stricter than what is shown her (i.e., no person
with any misdemeanor or felony convictions).

GA DUI Inconvenience

85. If you cannot rent a car for work or travel; and must pay for cabs or seek other transit
options out of your pocket. Sometimes, the executive must also take another company
employee along to drive, so as to not raise questions about his or her inability to rent a
car. Most expense accounts will not cover anything but the standard “contract” rental car
vehicle.

86. Hobbies may be restricted or prevented. For example, traveling out of the country for
golfing, fishing, hunting or other sports event can be embargoed by your DUI.

87. Internet access to criminal arrests accessible from several websites, including your
court’s “docket”.

88. Arrest records are available online (e.g., Google search) so you can be “Googled.” These
records are copied and posted on “mugshot” websites, causing you embarrassment (at a
minimum) and possibly cost you your job.

89. Police blotters in certain free, weekly neighborhood newspapers can start neighbors’
gossiping. [Example: Roswell, GA weekly paper.]

90. Convenience stores and similar public outlets often carry tabloid-style newspapers that
feature the mug shots of all recently-arrested individuals, along with the list of criminal
charges. These papers usually are found near the cash register and cost about $1.00. The
proliferation of these tabloids is proof of their popularity.

91. Repeat offenders in GA must have photo, name and nature of charges published in
official county “legal organ” of either your county of residence or in the county where
your conviction is entered (if licensed in another jurisdiction other than GA) and at your
expense.

92. Having to use a U.S. Passport to cash a check (instead of driver’s license) can create a
stigma with your grocer, banker or other regular financial or products service providers.

93. You can be “turned away” from airport at “port of entry” in foreign country (i.e.,
Toronto) due to DUI showing on record. If you lie about not having a prior conviction,
that can be a felony-level crime in some countries.

94. If you apply to your religious organization for a volunteer position (e.g., Sunday school
teacher) expect to sign release forms for a background check. Some churches will reject
any person with a prior DUI.

95. Traveling through airports, where some form of official (state-issued or federal-issued)
identification is needed can create issues. A passport can take up to two months to obtain,
especially if you do not have your driver’s license as part of your proof of identity in
seeking the passport. The immediate confiscation of driver’s license after a DUI arrest
creates a “problem” getting through security, at least in the short term.

96. If called for jury duty, one common question asked of the venire panel, if you are
questioned, is about “prior criminal convictions, including DUI.” You may also be asked
if you are “on probation,” and DUI cases in GA require a minimum of 12 months of
probation, minus any days that you serve in custody.

97. For a “refusal” to submit to the official breath, blood or urine test after your arrest for
DUI, if you fail to file a timely appeal, or if you lose the administrative license hearing,
this will result in a 12 months “hard” suspension, meaning no limited or “conditional”
license, no “hardship” license – NO DRIVING AT ALL — for one full year. Pleading
guilty to the DUI will NOT shorten this suspension, so do not do that! However,
“winning” your case (by a dismissal, reduction of the DUI charge to any other offense or
by acquittal) will reinstate your driving privileges and your GA license.