DUI First Offense Under 21 in Morgan County, Georgia

Until you reach the age of 21, your driving privileges in Putnam County, Georgia are dependent upon strict adherence to all traffic and safety laws. If you had a blood alcohol level of 0.02% or higher, you are considered impaired, although you might not feel anything depending on your size and weight.

Georgia wants to instill a true sense of responsibility in young drivers. Your future driving privileges and clean criminal and driving record require that you retain skilled and competent DUI defense lawyers as soon as possible. You don’t want to waive any rights or defenses, and you don’t want to miss any important deadlines.

For a young person, a DUI conviction has lasting effects. You will be required to disclose this conviction on college and employment applications, apartment lease applications, mortgage applications, and professional licensing applications. A criminal conviction stays with you forever.

When considering a drunk driving defense lawyer, you should consider Michael Fulcher Law. Michael Fulcher Law knows DUI law, with over 15-years of experience as a prosecutor, public defender, and privately retained defense counsel. He has prosecuted and defended hundreds of DUI cases. That experience extends to cases in Morgan, Greene, Putnam, Walton, Taliaferro, Newton and Jasper Counties.

Michael Fulcher Law will fiercely defend your legal rights and defenses, honestly assess the strength of the prosecution’s case, and advise you on a course of action that is in your best interests.

Two Kinds of DUIs for Under 21 Drivers in Georgia

Drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with two kinds of DUI:

  • with the results of a State-administered breath, blood, or

  • urine test, or for refusing to submit to a State-administered breath, blood, or urine test.

Unlike adult drivers whose blood alcohol can reach 0.08% without being considered legally impaired, drivers under the age of 21 are considered DUI if their blood alcohol reaches 0.02%. How many drinks does that mean? There is no firm answer because it depends on your body weight and metabolism. In some instances, it can be as little as one drink. What matters is that your blood alcohol reached that level whether or not you felt impaired. The consequences for a young driver can be devastating.

Drivers under the age of 21 might also refuse to submit to breath, blood, or urine tests, which violates Georgia implied consent law. To obtain a Georgia driver’s license, all drivers, no matter their ages, agree to submit to State-administered testing as a condition of driving. A refusal to take a field sobriety, Alco-sensor, or handheld breath test is not considered DUI refusal although a refusal to take a State-administered breath test on the Intoxilyzer 9000 is. A DUI refusal charge attaches to any refusal to take a State-administered breath, blood, or urine test.

Police must read you about the risk of refusal.

Implied consent notice for suspects under age 21: “The State of Georgia has conditioned your privilege to drive upon the highways of this state upon your submission to state-administered chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances for the purpose of determining if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse this testing, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state will be suspended for a minimum period of one year. Your refusal to submit to blood or urine testing may be offered into evidence against you at trial. If you submit to testing and the results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more, your Georgia driver’s license or privilege to drive on the highways of this state may be suspended for a minimum period of one year. After first submitting to the requested state tests, you are entitled to additional chemical tests of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances at your own expense and from qualified personnel of your own choosing. Will you submit to the state administered chemical tests of your (designate which test)?”

You have rights and defenses to either type of DUI charge as a driver under the age of 21. To fully protect your rights and defenses, call or email Michael Fulcher Law to schedule your free consultation with a drunk driving attorney now.

Under Age DUI Penalties for Georgia Drivers 

Penalties depend upon the amount of alcohol in your blood system at the time of arrest and the number of violations you have committed. Your age is also a factor for the court to consider when imposing penalties.

All DUI youthful offenders are required to complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and a clinical evaluation for alcohol and drug dependency.

First, let’s look at the penalties for first, second, and third offenses with a blood alcohol level of between 0.02% and 0.08%, the legal limit for adult drivers. Note that a first offense for drivers under 15 years of age will include a license suspension until you turn 17. A second offense will mean license suspension until you turn 18.

 

Blood Alcohol Level Fines

License Suspension

Jail Time

Community Service
1st Offense .02%–.08% $300–$1,000 6 months 24 hours to 12 months 20 hours performed within 60

days of sentencing

2nd Offense .02%–.08% $600–$1,000 18 months 72 hours to 12 months 30 days
3rd Offense .02%–.08% $1,000–$5,000 5 years 15 days to 12 months 30 days

For arrests with higher blood alcohol levels, the penalties are harsher, especially license suspension periods.

Blood Alcohol Level Fines License Suspension Jail Time Community Service
1st Offense Above .08% Up to $1,000 Up to 1 year Up to 1 year 40 hours
2nd Offense Above .08% Up to $1,000 Up to 3 years Up to 1 year 240 hours
3rd Offense Above .08% $1,000–$5,000 Up to 5 years Up to 1 year 240 hours

DUI Refusal for Under 21 Drivers

Only the State-administered breath test—the Intoxilyzer 9000—or giving a blood or urine sample at the police station are required as a condition of having a driver’s license in Georgia. You are under no legal obligation to submit to an Alco-Sensor breath test, a handheld breath test, or a field sobriety test roadside.

An Alco-Sensor breath test only measures if there is any alcohol present on your breath. It cannot measure other intoxicants besides alcohol. Getting a positive reading on an Alco-Sensor test is not evidence of intoxication and a numeric reading cannot be admitted in court. Police use it as a screening method upon stopping a driver.

A handheld breath test is also unreliable, because it can register different levels of alcohol depending on the depth of the breath expelled.

Field sobriety tests are also not required because the interpretations of how a driver performs are too subjective.

However, police can become hostile if you refuse to take these tests when pulled over. Many times police will immediately arrest you so that they can bring you to the station to administer the State-approved Intoxilyzer 9000 test or compel blood or urine samples. When refusing to submit to any roadside test, speak up loudly and distinctly so that your refusal is picked up on any vehicle-mounted camera or body camera on the police officer.

The police must read you the warning that a refusal to submit to an Intoxilyzer 9000 test or blood or urine tests will result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license with 30 days to request an ALS Hearing to appeal this action.

An Intoxilyzer 9000 test only measures for the presence of alcohol not drugs. You are only required to provide two sequential breath samples for the Intoxilyzer 9000 test. If the breath samples register as adequate, the officer cannot ask you to provide more. Only if the breath sample registers as insufficient, are you compelled to provide another breath sample. If the officer suspects drug impairment, they will request a blood test.

A refusal to submit to a State-administered breath, blood, or urine test results in a mandatory 12-month license suspension without the opportunity to get limited driving privileges.

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When you need a lawyer after being charged with a DUI or criminal offense or as you explore your options for filing a personal injury claim, look no further than Michael Fulcher Law’s impressive background, and ultra-attentive client service. To learn more about how we can help you achieve the best legal solution possible for your circumstances, call our criminal defense law firm at (706) 438-1555 or contact us online, and schedule your free consultation today.

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Know Your Rights!

At the moment you are stopped by a police officer on suspicion of DUI, you have very specific and important rights.

  • You have the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. You are only under an obligation to produce your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. You are only under an obligation to give your name and address. You need not answer any further questions, especially questions about where you are coming from, where you are going, whether you had anything to drink, or whether you have taken any drugs.

  • You have the right to be read a warning that if you refuse to take a State-administered breath, blood, or urine test that your driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months.

  • You have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford one, to have an attorney appointed to represent you.

Let’s spend a moment on how important it is to retain a lawyer to represent you as soon as possible.

If you have tested 0.02% or above blood alcohol or refused to take a State-administered test, your license will be suspended upon your arrest. You have just 30 days to file an appeal to this automatic suspension to retain your driving privileges during the pendency of this prosecution. That appeal costs $150 and entitles you to an Administrative License Suspension Hearing—ALS Hearing. That hearing provides a drunk driving defense attorney with an early opportunity to review the prosecution’s evidence and cross-examine the arresting officers to discern their reliability and quality as witnesses. This is an opportunity no one should miss.

In addition, by demanding an ALS Hearing you might be able to apply for limited driving privileges.

Michael Fulcher Law knows DUI law, with over 15-years of experience as a prosecutor, public defender, and privately retained defense counsel. That experience includes a deep understanding of DUI law, criminal procedure, and familiarity with all of the players—police, prosecutors, and judges—in Morgan, Greene, Putnam, Walton, Taliaferro, and Jasper Counties.

Michael Fulcher Law will fiercely defend your legal rights and defenses, honestly assess the strength of the prosecution’s case, and advise you on a course of action that is in your best interests.

Call or email now to schedule a free consultation. Your free consultation with Michael Fulcher Law is confidential, covered by attorney-client privilege. Your frank answers to all questions will assure a realistic assessment of the charges so that we can advise you on your rights, defenses, and how to proceed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Georgia wants young drivers to strictly follow the all traffic laws, including laws governing use of alcohol, prescription drugs, and most certainly, dangerous drug laws. To accomplish this objective, it is technically illegal for a driver under the age of 21 to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.02%. A single drink under the age of 21 is illegal, because of the current state drinking age of 21. Therefore, the current DUI reflects that intolerance to underage drinking, and illegal drug use.

Police must have a reasonable suspicion that you were intoxicated while driving. That means they must list any vehicular behaviors that led them to believe you were driving under the influence. Police cannot rely solely on the results of blood alcohol measures since the validity of the initial stop will be challenged by your DUI defense attorney.

A skilled, and competent DUI defense lawyer knows how to use the ALS Hearing process, and familiarity with the police, and prosecutors to know whether a plea negotiation or going to trial is the best option under your circumstances. There are ways to challenge a DUI under the age of 21 charge. Here is where experience counts.

If police suspect you are DUI because of taking drugs, or a combination of drugs, and alcohol, they will ask for either a urine or blood sample at the police station.

Urine tests do not reveal the quantity of controlled substances in your system—

only whether the substance is present. Urine tests can measure the percentage of ethylene glycol in your system, but the test is not fully reliable. Blood tests reveal the quantity of controlled substances in your system as well as alcohol. Blood tests are considered the most reliable chemical testing option. However, blood draws need to be performed by trained professionals, which makes them less available at police stations.

Yes, at a minimum, if you tested between 0.02-0.08%, upon entering a plea of guilty or conviction, you will lose your driver’s license for 6 months without a limited driving permit.

If you tested over 0.08% or refused testing under the implied consent laws, you will lose your driver’s license for 12 months without a limited driving permit.

In special circumstances you can avoid license suspension in DUI cases under 21. For a driver over 21 years of age, a defense attorney might be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduced charges of reckless driving. This is considered a lesser included offense, and does not carry all of the mandatory penalties associated with a DUI conviction.

Although for a driver under the age of 21, a plea to the lesser charge of reckless driving can mean no criminal record, it still requires a 6-month license suspension, a partial victory since avoiding a criminal record is important. If you are close to turning 21, sometimes you can avoid the license suspension by entering the plea after your 21st birthday.

After 120 days, you can regain your driving privileges in most instances on a first offense. However, you must reapply for your driving license privileges. You must present a completion certificate for DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program. You must show completion of any community service requirement or counselling obligation. You must pay all fines, and $200 reinstatement fee.

If you have been convicted of a DUI for the first or second time, you may be eligible for a hardship license. The hardship license only allows you to drive to work or school.

Driving under the influence is a criminal charge, and therefore, remains as a part of your criminal record for the rest of your life. Having a criminal record can overshadow your future. You must disclose the criminal record on many applications throughout your life: college, professional school, financial aid, mortgage, housing, professional licenses.

By hiring a skilled, and competent DUI defense lawyer, you might be able to avoid these serious consequences. Don’t despair!

AMAZING WORK

“Mr. Fulcher has been tremendously helpful with my case. Since hiring him he has consistently returned my calls as quickly as he can. We discussed an ideal outcome, and I set about doing exactly as he said. Following his advice we were able to get a very favorable outcome. He is always quick to answer any questions, and has stayed very engaged with me throughout this ordeal. Michael provides excellent counsel, and I would recommend him to anyone!”

— TOM

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