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When you can’t convince a friend to be a designated sober driver, you still have options when it comes to setting up a sober ride home. In fact, whether you had plans to drink with friends or simply drank more than anticipated at the bar, you can lean on public transportation or rideshare services.

Putting your life and those around you in danger is a hefty price to pay for a night of fun. And even if your reckless decision doesn’t harm others, you can still face legal consequences that will follow you for many years to come.

First-time offender penalties

In Georgia, there is no forgiveness or warnings when it comes to your first DUI traffic stop. First-time offenders can face up to a year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines and license suspension. Additionally, their sentence can include several hours of community service, probation and a class on driving. Dealing with a criminal charge can also deeply affect your personal and professional life. This is because you might have to ask others to drive you around until you get your license back or maybe applying to a job that requires you to have clean driving record can be difficult.

Field sobriety test flaws

Although there is science behind standardized field sobriety tests, sometimes even a sober person can fail them. These tests require both balance and careful attention to instructions. If you have a health condition like a standard headache or chronic head injury, then standing on one foot might not be a true test of impairment because your condition could throw off your balance. Even situational nervousness or a history of anxiety can cause a sober individual to not be able to walk in a straight line.

A few drinks can be fatal

Sometimes you engage in a little more drinking than you had planned. And while you may know your limits best, drivers who haven’t fully sobered up still go behind the wheel. Unfortunately, several drunk drivers don’t face DUI charges because they fall victim to a fatal crash. In fact, it’s estimated that about 30 people die in drunk-driving accidents each day across America.

The bottom line is drunk-driving can have lasting and lethal effects. But, carefully checking your sobriety before you had out the door can allow you to enjoy your drink of choice for many years to come.