When you’re arrested for a DUI in Georgia, you have a limited amount of time to contest the charges and your suspended license.
But not every DUI charge is the same. If you’ve already been convicted of a DUI charge – or two – before, there are different steps that you should take.
What are those steps, and how can hiring a criminal defense attorney help you through these charges?
An overview of DUI charges
Consequences for a DUI conviction vary depending on your criminal history. But a DUI conviction will stay on your record forever, and it can affect how much you pay for car insurance.
Anyone arrested in Georgia for a DUI has to appear in two separate courts – criminal court and then civil court. The case in civil court will be to determine whether your driver’s license will be suspended.
The preparation for this civil case begins when you receive the “30-Day Letter.” You have 30 days to request a hearing after you receive the letter.
The 1st DUI charge
Unfortunately, Georgia does not have an exception for first-time offenders, which means that even your first DUI conviction can’t be expunged from your record. That’s why you should call an attorney as soon as you receive notice of your charge.
Penalties for a first DUI conviction may include any of the following:
- 1-10 days in jail (sometimes can be waived)
- $300 fine
- 12 months of probation
- At least 40 hours of community service
- Suspended driver’s license (you’ll be given a limited permit instead)
- Substance abuse counseling
- DUI Risk Reduction School
- Going to a MADD Victim Impact Panel
A 2nd DUI charge
If you are convicted of a DUI for a second time, this conviction comes with more serious consequences. Again, we recommend contacting a serious criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you learn of your charge.
Consequences can include any of the following (and more):
- 90 days – 12 months in jail
- $600 – $1000 fine
- 12 – 36 months of probation
- 30 days of community service (240 hours)
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Installation of ignition interlock device and red stripe on driver’s license
- Substance abuse counseling
- DUI School
A 3rd DUI charge
Consequences for a third DUI charge are similar to those of a second charge, but is considered a high and aggravated misdemeanor. Fines can range up to $5000, however, and your license can be suspended for 5 years. Additionally, you will be declared a “Habitual Violator.”
So what should you do after your third offense to avoid some of these more serious punishments?
- Obviously, the first thing you should do is contact a lawyer immediately. It’s important to contact your lawyer within 10 days of your arrest.
- The second thing you can do to give yourself peace of mind is to start working on community service at a 501C3. A third DUI charge carries a minimum of 240 hours of community service, so getting a headstart on that is a serious advantage.
- The third thing that you can do is go to a drug and alcohol evaluator to be evaluated and see if treatment is necessary. Every judge is going to want to see this type of an evaluation in your case, so it’s helpful to get it out of the way, as well.
Contact the office of Kim Frye for more information
At the Frye Law Group, nothing is more important than getting results on behalf of our clients. That’s why we work hard with every client to work towards a just solution.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, give us a call at 770-919-9525 as soon as possible so we can get started working together on your defense.