What Happens When You Get Your 2nd DUI in Georgia

2nd DUI in Georgia means your life is about to change. The State of Georgia makes it a crime if you are driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% and above (for drivers over age 21), and if it is your 2nd DUI in Georgia, the maximum penalties and punishment are much more harsh than your 1st DUI in Georgia. For drivers under 21 years of age, the limit is 0.02, and for commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04.

If it is your 2nd DUI in Georgia, and you have already been convicted of or pled guilty to DUI within the last 10 years, the law triggers additional fines, penalties, and punishment. Best advice: hire an experienced DUI attorney, not just your best friend’s lawyer that plays basketball with you at the gym. Why? Because the difference between going to Court for a second DUI arrest within 10 years (versus the first DUI arrest in 10 years) cannot be overstated. No matter how soft or easy you thought it was the first time, rest assured you will be shocked when you learn how your life is about to change. From fines and penalties to license suspension to clinical alcohol evaluation to ignite interlock devices, the situation can go bad really quickly if you do not have a qualified DUI attorney representing you from the very start.

Misdemeanor or Felony
A 2nd DUI in Georgia will be considered a misdemeanor offense under the laws of Georgia. This misdemeanor offense in Georgia is punishable with up to 1 year of imprisonment. Generally, DUI arrests in Georgia will be a misdemeanor until the 4th DUI conviction in less than ten (10) years. However, a 2nd DUI in Georgia will be considered a felony offense if you have caused property damage or in some cases, serious bodily injury and death.

Administrative Penalties
If arrested for a 2nd DUI in Georgia within 5 years of your last DUI conviction, the Georgia Department of Driver Services will immediately seek a 3-year suspension of your driver’s license with serious limitations on a limited driving permit. The driver is not eligible for license reinstatement until the end of 18 months, and even then not until the driver shows proof of installation of an ignition interlock device for 12 months. The driver does have the right to request an administrative hearing to fight the suspension of license but it must be done within 10 business days of arrest. We file for the appeal routinely if contacted within the 10 business days to do so. The driver must attend a DUI Risk Reduction program and pay a significant reinstatement fee before the license will be reactivated. However, the driver should be prepared to purchase and install an ignition interlock device (IID) for at least 12 months and coinciding with the issuance of an ignition interlock limited driving permit. And if you think because you are an out of state driver this does not apply, think again. Sorry. The Georgia Department of Driver Services regulates the Ignition Interlock Program. 

Criminal Penalties
A 2nd DUI conviction in Georgia involves severe penalties. Jail time is generally required. The Defendant is required to serve a minimum of 72 hours and a maximum of 1 year in jail. Moreover, the minimum fine starts at $600 and can reach as high as $1000. The minimum punishment also includes 30 days of community service. And, you will be required to pay $210 as a reinstatement fee for your license and engage in a mandatory clinical evaluation for alcohol dependency, and in some cases, the completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program for substance abuse at the expense of the offender. The ignition interlock device for the 2nd DUI in Georgia is mandatory.

The Look Back Period
The look back period in Georgia for repeat DUI offenders is 10 years on the criminal side, 5 years on the administrative side.  So, if your 2nd DUI offense happened outside the range of the applicable look back period, you will be sentenced as if it was your 1st DUI offense. But there again, if you think that means the first DUI does not matter, think again. Prosecutors do not like repeat offenders, even if outside the technical look back period. A good DUI lawyer, however, can advise on how to minimize the impact.

Plea Options
DUI Law in Georgia allows the prosecutor and judge to use tremendous discretion in sentencing. A good DUI lawyer uses his knowledge of the law, the facts of the specific case, and a good working knowledge of what is reasonable, and a good working relationship with the prosecutor to reach an agreeable deal, a.k.a. negotiated plea for your case before spending all your money on a trial. This aspect of legal representation and the quality of your DUI lawyer will be most important at this stage.

A 2nd DUI in Georgia is a truly serious matter. In this situation, searching for a well-experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney would be the only good choice you can make. Remember, you don’t hire an auto mechanic to work on your computer. Call Ted Morgan Law today if you or a friend needs quality representation for a 2nd DUI in Georgia.

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