The criminal consequences and license consequences of a DUI are both extensive. The court determines your criminal consequences while the Department of Driver Services (DDS) assesses the license suspension. Both the criminal consequences and the license suspension are affected by how many recent DUIs you have had. The minimum criminal consequences are controlled by how many DUIs you have had in the last ten years. The license consequences depend on how many DUIs you have had in the last five years. The look-back period for both is based on the incident date, not the conviction date. So, you cannot delay a case to try and get outside the look-back window. This section will focus on the criminal consequences while the next section explains the license consequences.
A first lifetime DUI or a first DUI conviction in the last ten years requires the same mandatory minimum sentence under Georgia law. Those consequences are 12 months of probation, a $300 fine plus court costs, 40 hours of community service, DUI school, 24 hours in jail, and a substance abuse evaluation, but the judge can waive those last two requirements. So, if you are looking at the pure minimums, that would be 12 months of probation, a $300 fine, 40 hours of community service, and a DUI school. In most cases, the judge will assess a higher fine unless the defendant is indigent. Judges also like to see the substance abuse evaluation to make sure there is not a serious addiction problem that needs to be addressed. Finally, the jail time is dependent on where you were arrested. Some counties require the full 24 hours while others customarily waive it.
The criminal consequences for a second violation in ten years are 12 months of probation, three days in jail, $600 fine plus court costs, 240 hours of community service, DUI school, and a substance abuse evaluation. There is no discretion to remove any of these conditions, and the minimum three days in jail is not negotiable. Typically, you will be looking at more than three days in jail unless you are proactive and present strong mitigation.
A third conviction in ten years is a high and aggravated offense which increases the maximum possible fine to $5,000 and means that you cannot get two for one credit or other credits that would typically reduce the length of time you spend in jail. The bare minimums would be 12 months on probation, 15 days in jail, a $1,000 fine plus court costs, 240 hours of community service, DUI school, and the substance abuse evaluation. You need a skilled attorney to even get close to these minimums.
Your fourth conviction in ten years becomes a felony. Any additional convictions within ten years would also be felonies. You would be looking at a substantial prison sentence absent legal issues with your case and in-patient rehab prior to entering your plea. The mandatory minimum sentence is five years on probation, 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine plus court costs, 480 hours of community service, DUI school, and substance evaluation.
For more information on DUI Criminal Consequences in Georgia, call or text (470) 728-1725 to speak with attorney Carl Chapman.