If your arrest is your first lifetime DUI, the DUI, and any other additional traffic offenses received during your arrest will likely be charged as misdemeanor offenses. However, if injuries or deaths to passengers or other bystanders occur—your DUI charge will be upgraded to a felony.
The offense levels and corresponding possible punishments escalate with each new DUI conviction. If you receive a third DUI within a five-year period, you will be labeled as a Habitual Violator. If you are subsequently caught driving as a Habitual Violator, you will be charged with a felony. Additionally, if the DUI conviction is your third within a ten-year period, the charge will be upgraded to a high and aggravated misdemeanor offense. Finally, if you receive a fourth DUI conviction within a ten-year period, you will be charged with a felony and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
As the number of DUI convictions increases, so too do the penalties. You will face substantially higher fines, license suspensions, mandatory rehabilitation conditions, extended jail terms, or even prison time. While it’s impossible to guarantee what the outcome will be in any criminal case, you should not gamble with your future or attempt to handle the situation alone.
I understand the complexities of Georgia DUI law and know how to look at the individual case circumstances to build the strongest possible defense. Contact my office today for a free consultation for the experienced support you need for your case
A second DUI conviction within a ten year period of time will result in harsher penalties than a first DUI. A second DUI in ten years, like a first DUI, is considered a misdemeanor in most cases, unless serious injury or major property damage resulted from the offense. However, Georgia law heavily penalizes individuals alleged to be repeat offenders. If you are facing a second DUI outside of a 10 year period, click here.
So what are the legal penalties for a second DUI conviction in the past 10 years?
- 72 hours to 12 months of jail time
- 12 months of probation
- A fine
- 240 hours of community service
- Risk reduction
- Clinical evaluation and treatment
- License suspension
Will I go to jail if I’m convicted of a second DUI in 10 years?
A second DUI will also result in a sentence of up to 12 months in jail. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 (the DUI statute), the judge may probate all but 72 hours of that time. However, many judges are likely to require more than the minimum required 72 hours. Every judge has his or her own policies, and every jurisdiction is different with regards to jail time.
What about probation?
A 12 month period of probation is required by Georgia law upon conviction for a second DUI in 10 years. A person who is placed on probation is required to check in with an officer periodically (usually monthly). It is the officer’s job to ensure that the person is completing his or her court-ordered requirements and is not engaging in illegal activity. A person who is on probation may be randomly tested for drugs or alcohol, and must typically pay a monthly supervision fee to the probation department. These supervision fees, depending on the jurisdiction, range anywhere from $25 – $60 per month.
Depending on the jurisdiction, probation may be more or less invasive – some offices require more reporting, while others require less. Typically it is a good idea to complete all court-ordered requirements as soon as possible and report this to the probation officer.
Is there a fine for a second DUI?
Yes. A second DUI in 10 years will result in a fine that is at least $600, but not more than $1,000. Keep in mind, however, that most courts add on court costs and surcharges that can nearly double the total amount that you will be required to pay.
Are there other requirements for a first lifetime DUI?
Yes. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 requires that courts sentence an individual convicted of a first lifetime DUI to complete:
- At least 30 days (240 hours) of community service at a 501(C)(3) organization
- A DUI Risk Reduction program (which must be completed no later than 120 days after conviction unless the individual is incarcerated), and
- A clinical evaluation for drugs and alcohol and any follow-up treatment recommended by the evaluator.
What will happen to my license if I am convicted of a second DUI?
In addition to the legal consequences of a second DUI conviction, the Georgia Department of Driver Services also imposes penalties that affect your ability to drive. If a person is convicted of a second DUI in a five year period (note that the Department of Driver Services only looks back five years as opposed to the ten year period that the criminal justice system uses), the initial period of suspension is three years. However, a person whose license is suspended under this provision may be eligible for early reinstatement after 18 months, if certain conditions are met. The first 120 days of such suspension are referred to as a “hard” suspension. This means that no limited driving permits are allowed and the individual is barred from operating a vehicle for that period of time. After 120 days, the person can apply for an Ignition Interlock Device Limited Driving Permit and have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in his/her vehicle. That device must remain in the vehicle for twelve months. After this sixteen month period, the device may be uninstalled and the person can then drive with just the limited permit for two more months. After the eighteen month period has expired, the person can go and obtain a fully reinstated license. A reinstatement fee of $210 (or $200 if sent by mail) must be paid, and the person must have completed a DUI Risk Reduction Program. Note that pleading “nolo,” or no contest, will not avoid this outcome. O.C.G.A. § 40-5-63.
What if my first DUI was more than 10 years ago?
Georgia criminal courts have a 10-year “lookback” period for DUIs, and that period is measured by the date of the first DUI arrest where there was a conviction obtained to the date second DUI arrest where there was a conviction obtained – conviction dates do not factor into the analysis. This means that, if you were arrested on December 31, 2007 for your first arrest and then later convicted sometime in 2009 but your second arrest did not occur until January 1, 2018, the judge in the 2018 case would be bound by the range of penalties available under the first DUI statute, even though technically it would be your second DUI arrest. However, the prosecution may still inform the judge of the prior DUI conviction, and the judge may use that conviction against you during sentencing – because most criminal charges give judges a range of available options, the judge may sentence a person with a DUI outside of the 10 year window to something on the higher end of that range.
If you have a second lifetime DUI that is outside of the 10-year window, you should speak to a Georgia attorney who understands Georgia DUI law, but who also understands the jurisdiction that your case will be heard in. As a Georgia attorney with many years of DUI practice behind me, who has practiced in hundreds of jurisdictions throughout the state, I can advise you on how to get the best available outcome in your case.
Should you hire an attorney for a second DUI?
Absolutely. A person charged with a second DUI should never appear in court without a Georgia criminal defense attorney present. If you are convicted of a second DUI in 10 years, the consequences can affect your driving privileges, finances, employment, and even your liberty. Judges and prosecutors are given a huge amount of discretion over the outcomes of these cases, which adds a huge layer of unpredictability to DUI cases that can be very scary for individuals who are not intimately involved with the legal system. You should be diligent about hiring an attorney who not only understands the law, but who also knows the personalities involved.
I have handled hundreds of DUI cases in many of jurisdictions throughout Georgia. I have practiced in front of countless judges, and have worked out deals with countless prosecutors. It is my goal to make the process less intimidating and to get you the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact me for a free consultation to review your case.