The post-conviction license suspensions are set in stone, so the only way to avoid them is by beating the DUI charge at trial or through plea negotiations. The judge cannot increase or decrease the suspension which means that you will not receive a harsher suspension if you were to lose at trial versus entering a plea. This is in stark contrast to the criminal penalties which are typically much harsher after trial.
Just like the pre-conviction license suspensions (ALS), the Department of Driver Services is responsible for the implementing the post-conviction license suspensions and does so based on preset guidelines. Unlike the ALS suspension, the post-conviction license suspension does not impose different penalties if you took the chemical test or refused it. Instead, all that matters is whether you ultimately pled guilty or were found guilty at trial.
The post-conviction license suspension for a first DUI – alcohol conviction in the last five years is 120 days on a limited permit for work, school, medical appointments and anything required by probation. After that, assuming you do the DUI school and pay the reinstatement fee, you can get your full license reinstated on the 121st day. For a second DUI – alcohol conviction in the last five years, there is an 18-month suspension. The first 120 days are a hard suspension, meaning that you get no limited permit and no way to drive at all. After the first 120 days, you can get the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed and must keep it installed for 12 months before you can get your license reinstated. This is true no matter how long you wait to install it. So, even if you were to wait out the entire 18-month suspension, you would not be able to get your license reinstated until you had the IID installed for 12 months. Therefore, it is in your best interest to get it installed as soon as possible if you want to get back to driving. If there is any time remaining on the original 18-month license suspension when you finish the 12 months with the IID, then you will just have a limited permit for the balance remaining which is roughly two months for the people who get the IID installed as soon as possible. For a third DUI – alcohol conviction in the last five years, you are declared a Habitual Violator and receive a five-year license suspension. You are ineligible for any license for at least the first two years, and then you can petition for a limited permit for the last five years of your suspension.
For a first DUI – drugs conviction in the last five years, the license suspension is 180 days with no limited permit unless you are doing DUI Court. However, DUI Court is typically reserved for repeat offenders so on a first offense, you can expect to suffer the full 180 days without a license. For a second DUI – drugs conviction in the last five years, the license suspension is one year with no limited permit. However, in this scenario, you would likely be a good candidate for DUI Court if you wanted to explore that option which would allow for a limited permit. A third conviction for DUI – drugs carries the same penalties as a third conviction for DUI – alcohol. Specifically, you are declared a Habitual Violator subject to the five-year license suspension with a possibility of a limited permit after the first two years.
Once you are declared a Habitual Violator after your third DUI offense, any driving during the first two years is a felony offense. The same applies to any violations of the limited permit during the last three years. If you happen to not only get caught driving but are also charged with a fourth DUI, then you are subject to two felonies, one for being a Habitual Violator and the other for getting a fourth DUI in the last ten years.
Also of note, upon a second or subsequent conviction within five years for any DUI offense, the license plates of all motor vehicles registered in your name must be surrendered to the court and your photo will also be published in the local newspaper.
For more information on DUI Law in Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (470) 728-1725 today.