Every day, drivers in Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia get behind the wheel while under the influence of intoxicants. Many of them take the risk and get charged with a DUI. Even if they have no previous criminal record, a DUI conviction can result in harsh punishment. Convicts may have to deal with jail time, license suspension, and fines. Despite this, many people get charged with two, three or even four DUIs within a few years. Statistics show that approximately one-third of individuals arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders.
This happens even though penalties of each subsequent DUI are harsher than the previous one. Both the fines and the jail time increase. Furthermore, if your criminal record includes DUIs or major crimes involving motor vehicles, you may be declared a habitual violator. This attracts additional punishment. Even if the court threw out or reduced your prior DUI charge, prosecutors and judges may use it against you. If you’re facing DUI charges, you must talk to an experienced Atlanta, GA DUI defense attorney about how your record could affect you. In the meantime, here’s some of the basic information you need to know.
How Subsequent DUIs on Your Criminal Record Are Handled
Ideally, one conviction for DUI would be enough to get a driver to change their behavior. However, if you’ve been charged with a second DUI within ten years, you could spend up to 12 months in jail. You may also have to pay a $1,000 fine along with court costs. At a minimum, you would spend 72 hours in jail and pay a $600 fine. Second-time offenders must also perform 240 hours of community service and attend DUI school. They must get a clinical evaluation and undergo any recommended drug or alcohol treatment. For your second DUI conviction in ten years, you also spend 12 months on probation less time served in jail.
Things get worse if it’s your second conviction within five years. The Department of Driver Services will suspend your license for at least 18 months. You will also have to surrender your license plates. You won’t be able to get a restricted permit for the first 120 days. If allowed to drive for limited purposes, you will need to install an ignition interlock device. You will also have to pay to publish your photo and a notice of your conviction in a county newspaper. To avoid all this, you need to work with a competent DUI attorney in Atlanta, GA.
Third DUI Conviction
A third DUI within ten years is a high and aggravated misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 12 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The minimum punishment is 15 days in jail, 240 hours of community service, a $1,000 fine, DUI school, and clinical evaluation. A judge can suspend half of your fine if you undergo a court-approved drug or alcohol treatment program.
In addition, you will be declared a habitual violator and you can lose your license for up to five years. If you are caught driving, you will face charges of driving after being declared a habitual violator. This is a felony punishable by one to five years in prison.
Details on Habitual Violation in Georgia
DUIs aren’t the only offenses that can cause you to be labeled a habitual violator. If you have been convicted of any three major traffic offenses, it will work against you. Major violations include:
- Homicide by vehicle
- Commission of a felony while using a motor vehicle
- Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident
- Racing on the streets and highways
- Using a motor vehicle to flee or attempting to elude an officer
Habitual violators face a range of penalties including:
- A fine between $1,000 and $5,000
- Up to five years in prison
- Five years of probation less time served
- At least 30 days of community service
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- DUI course attendance
- Clinical evaluation
- Drug or alcohol treatment if recommended
You may get a limited permit after two years if you complete a treatment program and meet other conditions.
Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Howard & Arca Today!
Whether you’re on your second DUI or you’re faced with being labeled a habitual violator, we can help. If you have a criminal record with DUIs or other serious traffic offenses, the courts could treat you harshly. Georgia’s laws are tough on impaired drivers. However, our Atlanta DUI defense law firm will do everything possible to minimize your punishment. Call us today to schedule your first consultation.