Every year, people from all walks of life—young drivers, older, more experienced drivers, those simply driving carelessly, and those who simply made one bad decision—find themselves being charged with DUI. Across the nation, 1.9 percent of adults admit to driving when they have had too much to drink, while in the state of Georgia, about 1.4 percent of adults admit to driving after drinking too much. Mistakes happen, and if you have made the serious mistake of driving while intoxicated, you need serious help—and fast. The decisions you make following being charged with DUI may well be among the most important decisions you will ever make.

It is crucial that the attorney you call has a history of helping clients charged with DUI, as well as a significant amount of experience and knowledge of Georgia’s DUI laws. If this is not your first DUI charge, then you have even more at stake—the potential penalties for subsequent DUI convictions in the state of Georgia can be harsh. Having a Georgia DUI attorney who is solidly in your corner, and who is fully aware of what you have to lose, truly makes a difference.

Your Georgia DUI attorney can determine whether your stop was by the book, and whether the police officer was properly trained in all aspects of DUI arrests. It is a mistake to assume you are doomed because you have a prior DUI. Georgia DUI attorney Melanie Ellwanger will fight aggressively for your rights and your future, so help her help you by calling as soon as you have been arrested.

Penalties for Second, Third and Subsequent DUI Convictions in the State of Georgia

A first DUI conviction means that within the past ten years you have no other DUI convictions. Although the minimum jail sentence for a first-time DUI conviction is 10 days (with a maximum of 12 months), all but 24 hours of that sentence can be suspended, probated or stayed by the court. For a first-offense DUI you will be sentenced to 12 months’ probation, will pay a fine from $300-$1,000, will be sentenced to 40 hours of community service, and will be required to complete an Alcohol Risk Reduction Program. First-time offenders will also have their license suspended for one year, although you can potentially get your license back after four months, after completion of the Alcohol Risk Reduction Program. During the 120-day suspension, you could be able to obtain a limited license to drive to and from work or school.

For a second DUI conviction (a second conviction within the past 10 years), the following penalties apply:

  • A minimum jail sentence of 90 days with a maximum of 12 months. All but 72 hours of your jail sentence may be probated, depending on the circumstances;
  • A minimum fine of $600, and a maximum fine of $1,000;
  • Mandatory clinical evaluation;
  • Court-ordered Alcohol Risk Reduction Program prior to being issued an ignition interlock permit;
  • At least 12 months of probation;
  • A minimum of 30 days community service;
  • If you refused a chemical test, your license could be suspended for 3 years;
  • Your license may be suspended for three years, however you may qualify for an ignition interlock permit;
  • If you obtain an ignition interlock permit, you may be able to drive after 120 days of your suspension have passed, so long as you have met all other requirements, and
  • You may be required to file an SR22 form with the Georgia DDS which shows you have auto insurance prior to being issued an ignition interlock permit.

For a third DUI conviction (a third conviction within the past 10 years), the following penalties apply:

  • A minimum jail sentence of 120 days, with a maximum jail sentence of 1 year
  • Fines from $1,000 to $5,000;
  • Mandatory clinical evaluation;
  • Court-ordered Alcohol Risk Reduction Program;
  • Twelve months’ probation;
  • A minimum of 30 days community service;
  • Possible revocation of your driver’s license for five years;
  • Possibility of a probationary license following two years of the license suspension, so long as you apply for an ignition interlock permit, and are approved, and
  • Possible requirement to carry a Georgia SR22 insurance filing for three years after your license is reinstated.   

If you are convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI within the past 10 years, you could face felony charges, rather than misdemeanor charges. If convicted of a felony DUI, you will receive between 1 and 5 years in jail (although all but three months could potentially be probated, depending on the circumstances). You could also pay a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, be required to attend an Alcohol Risk Reduction Program, prior to the end of your revocation period, be sentenced to 5 years’ probation and a minimum of 60 days of community service. Further, your photograph will appear in the local newspaper, along with your name and the specifics of your violation. You will likely be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle prior to having your license reinstated.

The Most Experienced Help Following Your DUI Charges

As you can see, penalties for a DUI conviction—particularly second and subsequent DUI convictions—are very serious. If you had a child or children in the vehicle with you at the time of your DUI arrest, or if there was significant property damage, or injury or death to another person, your penalties will be even harsher. You could end up losing your job, or have difficulty obtaining a job, and your insurance rates could become prohibitively expensive—if you can get insured at all.  Working with a Georgia DUI attorney like Melanie Ellwanger is your very best line of defense when you are charged with a Georgia DUI, particularly a second, third or subsequent DUI. Call Melanie Ellwanger at 404-803-3105 for a dedicated, knowledgeable attorney who will work hard for the best outcome and will be a constant advocate in your corner.