GEORGIA DUI: 2ND OFFENSE
Facing a second lifetime DUI in Georgia can have serious consequences. All the consequences of a first- time conviction for DUI are in play again, but almost everything is amplified in severity. Serious jail time becomes a concern if convicted of a 2nd DUI. The time to serve can range from 10-90 days dependent on where the charge is located and how much time has passed between your 1st and 2nd DUI. License suspensions also increase with a 2nd conviction and there could be a mandatory hard suspension period of 120 days. You will be ineligible for any limited permit during this time. Hefty fines, extensive Drug and Alcohol counseling, classes and treatments, and many other consequences are also typical of a 2nd DUI conviction.
2ND DUI: AUTOMATIC LICENSE SUSPENSION
The first and most urgent aspect of a 2nd DUI is to determine whether the arresting officer seized your license during the arrest. An individual whose license is seized during DUI investigation should also receive a Form-1205 notice if the officer did their job correctly. This form notifies the individual charged with DUI that the officer is petitioning against them to have their license automatically suspended for a period of 1 year. This is generally done when the individual accused of DUI refuses state administered testing of the blood, breath, or urine, or when the accused had a breath sample of .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher.
The good news is that this is not an automatic suspension and there are options to fight this suspension. You have 30 days to file an appeal of the suspension, or you may choose to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in certain circumstances. The appeal process involves mailing the Department of Driver Services official notice that you intend to appeal the suspension. A hearing is scheduled through the Office of State Administrative Hearings to determine whether the officer’s case against you has grounds to automatically suspend your license. Failure to provide any response to the petition within 30 days, or failure to install an interlock device if eligible, will result in the one- year suspension of your privilege to drive in the State of Georgia being upheld automatically. Many other states will also honor this license suspension even though it is a Georgia specific suspension.
2ND DUI: WHAT’S AT STAKE?
It should come as no surprise that a second DUI charge in Georgia brings more severe penalties than the 1st conviction. However, the good news is generally a 2nd DUI is still considered only a misdemeanor offense. A big difference between a 1st and 2nd DUI conviction is potential jail time. Georgia law demands that a second DUI conviction warrants a required minimum penalty of three days of jail time. The unfortunate truth is that three days of jail time for a 2nd conviction is the best it will get, and many times it will be significantly more time to serve. Serve time penalties for a 2nd DUI conviction typically range from 10-90 days depending on your Judge, how soon after a 1st DUI you get your 2nd, and how you were convicted (i.e. jury trial, plea, etc.).
Fines will jump significantly for a 2nd DUI conviction. It is standard to see a fine in the range of $600 to $1,000 for a 2nd DUI conviction. A 12-month sentence on probation is typical for a misdemeanor conviction and it is no different for a 2nd DUI. As previously mentioned, the serve time varies significantly from case to case, but do not expect anything less than 3 days at minimum with the rest to be served on probation. Hefty community service is also likely, with the most common result being 240 total hours of community service (30 days of 8-hour days). You will also be required to surrender your license plates for any vehicles registered in your name. You must complete the standard DUI risk reduction course, complete a drug and alcohol evaluation and any recommended treatments, and some cases require drug or alcohol counseling.
Lesser known or considered penalties are potentially embarrassing, such as the requirement that you pay to have your picture published in the newspaper with information about your charges. A 2nd DUI conviction, like the 1st, is permanently on your record and can have impact on your life long- term. There will be no possibility of commercial driving with multiple DUI convictions. In fact, license penalties in general are the most complex and sometimes most significant result that comes from a 2nd DUI conviction.
2ND DUI: WHAT HAPPENS TO MY LICENSE?
Many people facing a 2nd DUI conviction In Georgia will find that the worst of the penalties are the impact it has on your license and privilege to drive in our state. The most important consideration when determining license suspension penalties for a 2nd DUI is how recent your 2nd DUI is compared to your 1st DUI conviction. After changes in DUI laws in 2013, those who face a 2nd DUI in 10 years, meaning it has been at least 5 years since their 1st DUI conviction, will face the penalties of a 1st DUI conviction from the Department of Driver Services. This means that individuals convicted of a 2nd DUI in 10 years, or lifetime, will face a 1-year suspension period, with the ability to reinstate their license fully after 120 days if they show proof of a completed DUI Risk Reduction Course. They will also be eligible for a limited driving permit throughout the entirety of the 1- year suspension.
License penalties are much more severe for those facing a 2nd DUI within 5 years of their 1st DUI conviction. The minimum period of suspension for your license for a 2nd DUI conviction is 18 months, however the suspension could max out at 3 years. Unlike a 2nd DUI in 10 years, there is no eligibility for a limited permit for at least the first 120 days of the suspension, meaning that the first 120 days is considered a “hard suspension”. After 120 days you may be considered for a limited permit, but only after specific criteria are met and presented to your judge.
The first requirement is you must provide proof to the judge that you are in an approved treatment program. The program you choose is subject to the approval of your judge and judicial discretion is permitted. It is worth noting that you must complete a clinical drug and alcohol evaluation prior to enrollment into a treatment facility, otherwise there is a likelihood the judge will not consider your case eligible for the permit. The judge will provide you a certificate of eligibility for a limited permit if they approve of your program and its treatment.
This certificate of eligibility will take you to the next step of the process to get back on the road: the ignition interlock device. After being issued a limited permit, a requirement for you to keep your limited privilege to drive will be to install and maintain an ignition interlocutory device on your vehicle for a minimum period of 8 months. You will be able to apply for a limited permit without an ignition interlock device after completion of this 8- month period without incident or lapse. Full reinstatement can be sought at the end of the 18- month suspension provided there are no further incidents during this period.
2ND DUI: FINAL THOUGHTS
As with any other criminal case, timeliness is paramount to quality defense in 2nd DUI cases. Proper timing and action by your counsel can preserve evidence, execute motions and court proceedings, and plan an effective defense based on the facts of your case. This is especially crucial when responding to the 30- day deadline for your automatic license suspension.
Give your counsel the tools they need to represent you to their fullest potential by calling and starting with us today. We look forward to working on your case.