By: William C. Head, Board-Certified Atlanta DUI Lawyer
For a 1st DUI, many people either go to court without a DUI attorney, and represent themselves, or look for cheap DUI lawyers, to hold their hand and go plead guilty to driving under the influence.
Most of these first-time offenders merely looked at their arrest, and the facts shown in a police report, and “self-diagnosed” their cases as being impossible to win. These citizens then entered an eventual guilty plea, without ever talking to a DUI lawyer who is a specialist in fighting a DUI first offense or 2nd DUI.
About 95% of clients who come to our DUI law firm with a 2nd DUI in Georgia tell us that they CANNOT BELIEVE they got in trouble again! And they really don’t know the HALF of it.
A 1st offense DUI, by comparison, was a “cakewalk.” To use a medical analogy, it is like a person being told by his or her doctor that they have cancer, and then self-diagnosing whether you can BEAT the cancer. Pretty stupid choice, when you look at it that way.
A Lifetime of Regret and DUI Consequences for Pleading Guilty to DUI
The mistake of a second offense DUI in GA will be one that the convicted citizen will regret forever, and will especially grow to regret, because the potential DUI penalties, the driver’s license impact, and the crushing consequences that can befall your family and job generate a 5-fold to 10-fold harsher “batch” of criminal and administrative punishments for a second DUI offense than the person faced with the first offense DUI conviction.
The following short list of 10 painful, life-altering consequences of a second GA DUI is a partial explanation of how badly the life of a defendant can be impacted and disrupted, after a conviction for a 2nd DUI in GA within 5 years.
The differences between DUI penalties for a Georgia DUI first offense and a Second DUI in GA are significant. Across the board, criminal conviction penalties in the 2nd DUI in GA case are substantially greater, insofar as mandatory, minimum punishments. This includes any second offense DUI within the past 10 years. The ten-year time period is measured from dates of arrest.
This ten-year window is called a “lookback” period, since the Georgia DDS (Georgia Department of Driver Services) looks BACK (on your driving history) to see if you are a repeat offender. Any 2nd DUI in Georgia that falls within the 10-year period causes mandatory imposition of harsh penalties that a judge cannot alter or waive.
Moreover, Georgia DDS mechanically applies the administrative driver’s license suspension rules, so that total suspension of all privileges will occur for a second DUI in Georgia, if that second conviction gets recorded at any Georgia court, within 5 years of the first. This difference, between criminal sanctions and administrative license suspension penalties, is discussed more, below.
Driver’s License Suspension Penalties Use a 5-Year Lookback Period
Any second DUI in Georgia that falls within the 10-year lookback period causes mandatory imposition of harsh DUI penalties in the criminal case that a Judge cannot alter or waive. However, current Georgia DUI laws provide that driver’s license administrative license suspension penalties (for a violation of Georgia implied consent law) use a 5-year lookback period, utilizing the same method of looking at DATES OF ARREST.
As opposed to the ten-year time frame, for increasing mandatory DUI penalties on the CRIMINAL cases, Georgia DUI laws call for a 5-year lookback on administrative license suspension (ALS) driver’s license, “loss-of-driving-privileges” issues.
This shorter lookback period FAVORS the Georgia DUI driver for protecting his or her ability to be treated as a first DUI offense, for licensing purposes. In 2008, the Georgia State legislature could have made the second DUI offense in Georgia loss of driving privileges provisions applicable to the same 10-year term as the criminal punishment.
If an arrested citizen who is age 21 and over and a Georgia driver license holder, and has not had a prior DUI conviction within five years, then the 2nd DUI in Georgia will have an additional option for a limited permit (after a DUI refusal) under the July 1, 2017 change in Georgia implied consent law provisions for continued driving privileges. This new law helps drivers who refused testing (under implied consent law) to opt for an ignition interlock device (IID).
WARNING: To take advantage of these new driver’s license options, an arrested driver now has 30 calendar days, after arrest, to either appeal or ask Georgia DDS for an ignition interlock device limited permit (IIDLP), for a full 12 months. No LATE filing for a DDS appeal OR to get the ignition interlock installed and “permitted,” is allowed by DDS GA, so see a top DUI lawyer immediately, after arrest for DUI in Georgia.
So long as you are not a 2nd DUI in Georgia within the past 5 years, you are likely eligible for better driving options, if age 21 and over and are a valid Georgia drivers license holder.
Drunk driving accident penalties, whether for a first offense DUI or a second offense DUI in Georgia MAY involve either felony or misdemeanor DUI penalties. If involved in a DUI accident, the driver can be in jeopardy of devastating financial penalties (in the related civil case), since punitive damages are possible if the person is convicted of DUI, and this judgment for money damages is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
If serious injury or death occur, regardless of the type of DUI (i.e., alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, Suboxone, Xanax, Soma or similar prescribed medications), you will be facing felony charges. This article reviews drunk driving penalties for a 2nd DUI in Georgia, in both the felony and misdemeanor scenarios.
Drunk driving book author William C. “Bubba” Head, Atlanta criminal defense lawyer and Board-Certified drunk driving defense expert attorney, or one of the other law partners at William C. Head, PC, (who are also specialists AND drunk driving book authors), can assist you on a repeat DUI offense.
Each year, our three DUI attorneys are able to get more than 250 DUI cases in Georgia reduced to reckless driving, have the DUI dismissed, or obtain “not guilty” verdicts.
Many of these are for people facing a 2nd DUI in GA or even worse prior criminal records for prior DUI convictions. Quite a few had DUI arrests that had WORSE facts than your case, guaranteed. The difference is that they made a commitment to FIGHT, and you did not.
Call partners Larry Kohn, Cory Yager, or Bubba Head — RIGHT NOW — for a FREE initial lawyer consultation, and get help on a repeat offense driving while intoxicated case. The three DUI book authors and Super Lawyers are ready to GUIDE your PATH to a successful case outcome, even for a 2nd DUI in GA.
Don’t think that just because you are not a first offense DUI that we cannot win your case, or find a way to secure a Georgia reckless driving alternative disposition.
We have been able to do just that in approximately 1,000 cases over our collective careers. Don’t GIVE UP, just because some DUI attorneys do not offer you much hope, for a 2nd DUI in Georgia.
Former municipal court judges Maurice H. Hilliard, Jr. of Roswell Municipal Court and Mickey Roberts of Suwanee Municipal Court back up our veteran team of criminal defense lawyers.
If you need a 24-hour lawyer, and want to know how to get your license back, call us now for immediate help. (404) 567-5515. Our FREE professional criminal case assessment is worth your time and energy. If winning is your objective, call our Georgia DUI law firm today. Below are some of the books, with chapters provided, written by our DUI lawyers.