Getting arrested on a drunk-driving charge is never fun. But it can be an especially big problem if you already have a DUI conviction (or two) on your record. Then the potential penalties you would face if convicted start shooting up, and your priors do not have to have happened recently either.
The penalties for multiple DUI convictions
Like most states, Georgia’s DUI laws impose increased punishments for a DUI conviction if it is not the defendant’s first offense, especially if the subsequent conviction happens within five or ten years of the previous one. For example:
- A first offense does not carry any mandatory minimum jail time and a maximum sentence of one year behind bars. But if you get convicted or plead guilty to a second DUI within five years, the law requires that you spend at least 48 hours in jail, with a possible additional sentence of 90 days to a year.
- The minimum fine doubles from $300 to $600.
- For a first offense, you will be sentenced to perform at least 40 hours of community service. For a second offense within five years, that goes up to a minimum of 30 days.
- Your driver’s license will be suspended for three years instead of a maximum of one.
- The court will order you to undergo a clinical evaluation for possible addiction and, if deemed necessary, addiction treatment at your own expense.
If you get convicted for a third time within five years of your second DUI conviction, you will lose your license for five years, have to spend at least 15 days in jail, perform at least 30 days of community service, and pay a $1,000-5,000 fine. You must also pay to have an ad published in a local newspaper identifying you as a DUI offender and possibly undergo an addiction treatment program.
Every DUI charge requires a strong defense strategy, but especially if you have a prior record. Consulting with a defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed to minimize the impact on your life.