Getting your first conviction for driving under the influence can be a scary situation. You may have no idea what to expect and be afraid of the ramifications of such a charge. It is a good idea to understand the penalties before you go to court. This can help you to not only know what to expect but also enable you to decide if you want to mount a defense against the charges once you get in a Georgia courtroom.

The Department of Driver Services explains that you will face a license suspension of 12 months for your first DUI. However, you may be able to get your license back sooner if you meet specific requirements.

You must pay your reinstatement fee and complete an approved DUI alcohol and drug risk reduction program. Then, after 120 days of your suspension, you can apply for reinstatement. So, you may only lose your license for 120 days instead of the full 12 months.

One thing to note, though, is that at the time of your arrest, if you refused the officer’s request to take a chemical test, then you cannot reduce your suspension time. You will have to serve out the full 12-month suspension regardless of whether you take the course and pay your fees before that time.

Keep in mind that the effects on your license are only one part of the penalties for a DUI charge. While a first-time offense will net you the lowest possible DUI penalties, you may still face jail time and hefty fines. This information is for education and is not legal advice.