While anyone arrested for drinking and driving in Georgia may face serious consequences, teenagers can endure especially harsh penalties.

The state of Georgia is strict when it comes to enforcing driving under the influence (DUI) laws. It has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone under 21, meaning you cannot drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.02% if you’re underage.

You’d receive the same punishments as an adult if your BAC is over 0.08%. If it is under 0.08%, penalties would differ depending on whether it’s your first, second or third offense:

First offense

  • $300 to $1,000 in fines
  • Six-month license suspension
  • 24 hours to 12 months of jail time
  • 40 hours of community service

Second offense

  • $600 to $1,000 in fines
  • 18-month license suspension
  • 72 hours to 12 months of jail time
  • 30 days of community service

Third offense

  • $1,000 to $5,000 in fines
  • Five-year license suspension
  • 72 hours to 12 months of jail time
  • 30 days of community service

There are two exceptions to these rules: if you are 15 or under, you’d automatically lose your license until you’re 17. And if it’s your second offense, your license would be suspended until you’re 18.

You’d likely need to enroll in a 20-hour DUI course and install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle. You would pay for both of these in addition to the fees noted above.

A DUI is a serious crime that can stay on your record, which could negatively impact your future. Employers have the right to deny you a position. Colleges can reject your application – or expel you if you’re already enrolled. Landlords may be less willing to rent to you.

Dealing with an underage DUI in Georgia can be scary, but you don’t have to fight it alone. An attorney with a background in battling DUI charges can help get your life back on track.