Aggressive, Compassionate, & Responsive Criminal Defense

If you have been charged with a criminal or traffic offense in Georgia, you need an attorney who will fight for you.

Click here to contact me today for a free consultation.

Third DUI in Ten Years

A third DUI within a 10 year period is considered a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor. This means that, while it is still technically considered a misdemeanor offense, a person convicted of such an offense may be sentenced beyond what is normally permissible for a regular misdemeanor. For example, the fines for a third DUI may be required to pay up to $5,000 in fines, plus court fees, whereas normally a misdemeanor can only result in fines of up to $1,000. A person who is convicted of a third DUI in 5 years is also designated a Habitual Violator (keep scrolling for more information, or click here). Because a third DUI carries not only the possibility of a huge legal penalty, but can also affect driving privileges for years to come, you should always contact an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer prior to going to court.

What are the legal penalties for a Third DUI Conviction in 10 Years?


  • 120 days to 12 months of jail time       
  • 12 months probation     
  • A fine of $1,000 - $5,000 plus surcharges       
  • 240 Hours of Community Service at a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization       
  • DUI Risk Reduction Program (See here for list of approved schools)       
  • Clinical Evaluation and Completion of Treatment If Recommended       
  • License revocation (if 3rd DUI in 5 years)
  • NOTE: For 2nd or subsequent DUI in 5 years:
  1. Pay a $25.00 fee to publish a notice of your conviction and your photograph in your county newspaper; and,
  2. Surrender all license plates of any motor vehicles registered in person’s name to the court. 

Third DUI in 10 Years FAQ

Will I go to jail if I’m convicted of a third DUI in 10 years?

Georgia law requires that a person convicted of a third DUI within a ten year period to be sentenced to a minimum of 120 days of jail time. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 does specify that all but 15 days of that time may be probated rather than spent in jail. The practical effect of this is that judges have huge discretion in deciding whether a person convicted of a third DUI in 10 years should spend 15 days or 6 months or even more in jail.

What about Probation?

If convicted of a third DUI within a 10 year period, you will likely be sentenced to one year of probation, less any time spent in jail. Keep in mind, however, that people convicted of DUI often have associated charges. For example, individuals charged with DUI are often charged with, for example, speeding or child endangerment. If an individual is convicted on these charges as well as the DUI, the judge may add additional probation time beyond the 12 months that are permissible for a single misdemeanor offense, and some jurisdictions require additional probation time to be served “consecutively” rather than “concurrently,” meaning that the individual may be on probation much longer than one year. Experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys typically try to have additional charges “merged” with the DUI or dismissed altogether so that a person charged with multiple offenses can only be sentenced to a single 12-month sentence.

Is there a fine for a Third DUI Conviction in 10 years?

Yes. The fine ranges from $1,000 to $5,000. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 states that this fine cannot be suspended or probated. Additionally, most courts add additional “court costs,” which may nearly double the fine itself.

Are there other requirements for a Third DUI Conviction in 10 years?

Yes. Judges must, per Georgia law, require at least 240 hours (30 days) of community service work at a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You must also complete a DUI Risk Reduction program and a clinical evaluation. Judges will require follow-up treatment if the clinical evaluation recommends it.

Although it is not written into Georgia law, some jurisdictions (for example, Fulton County) require that individuals participate in a Victim Impact Panel. This is typically offered through Mothers Against Drunk Drivers or M.A.D.D.

Will I lose my license after a Third DUI Conviction in 10 years?

It depends. The Georgia Department of Driver Services, unlike the justice system, only “looks back” five years to determine what license penalties a person should face after a DUI conviction. That means that if a person has two convictions that are 7 and 9 years old, respectively, they will be treated like a third-time offender by the Georgia criminal justice system, but as a first offender by the Department of Driver Services. If, however, a person has a third DUI within a five year period of time, that person’s license will be revoked, not merely suspended. That person will also be considered a Habitual Violator and will be subject to increased penalties if he or she is caught driving. He or she is not eligible for a probationary license until two years have passed. Read more about DUI Habitual Violator Status, license implications, and HV probationary license requirements here.

What if this is my Third Lifetime DUI, but my older convictions are more than ten years old?

The Georgia justice system has a ten-year “look back” period with regards to DUIs. This means that, for sentencing purposes, prosecutors and judges may only look at convictions that occurred in the past ten years. This means that, for this article to be applicable to you, both of your priors must be within the past 10 years, based on dates of arrest (not conviction dates). If only one of your priors occurred within the last 10 years, see here. If neither of your priors occurred within the last 10 years, see here.

This does not mean, however, that prosecutors cannot inform judges of old offenses, or that judges may not have prior offenses in mind during sentencing. Georgia law gives judges a wide range of options with regards to sentencing, and as long as they stay within the permissible range of sentences for that particular offense. This means that a person with old charges, even if they are outside of the ten year “look back” period, will probably be sentenced more harshly than a person with no priors. You should always discuss prior charges, even if they are very old, with your Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney so that they can formulate the best defense in your case.

Should you hire an attorney for a Third DUI in 10 years?

Yes, absolutely. As you can see, the potential outcomes of a third DUI within a 10 year period can be devastating. This is why it is so important to hire a Georgia DUI Defense Attorney with experience handling DUI cases to handle your case, especially if you have prior DUIs. Because judges have so much discretion and jurisdictions vary so wildly with regards to sentencing, you need a lawyer who knows the players in your jurisdiction. A good attorney knows the law, yes, but also knows which arguments are likely to succeed with the prosecutors and judges in your court. This experience is invaluable. For a free consultation, contact me today.

URGENT: If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia, you have only 30 days to appeal the administrative suspension of your driver’s license or to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. If you fail to act, your license will be suspended. Do not wait until your license is suspended. Know your options. Get in touch today.

Learn More


Kevin Fisher

Share This Page

Have any questions?

(404) 403-2665

Open Every Day

Call Anytime

Need some help?

Or click here to send me a message.

Get in touch

Please contact me using the form below

Get in touch

Please contact me using the form below

Get in touch

Please contact me using the form below

Scroll to Top