The evidence rules have changed recently so that its harder for the state to use prior charges against you. But, they can try to use those against you for certain limited purposes at trial. This is one reason why you'll need a good DUI attorney on your side. Also, the prosecutor will consider the prior charges during negotiations. Even though the statue only requires harsher punishments for multiple charges within 5 years, the prosecutor will likely be harsher on you when your attorney tries to work out a good deal for you. On the other hand, all of those charges were a very long time ago, and just because you were previously convicted does not mean that you were guilty this time. There are many possible defenses that should be considered, and a good legal argument could result in a reduction in the charges or a victory at a motions hearing or trial. You need to find a good lawyer in a reasonable price range who's serious about fighting the case.
Do not be paralyzed with fear, simple research and select a good criminal defense counsel practicing in Gainesville, GA to protect your legal interests fully and competently.
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I don't practice in GA, but I believe in GA priors wash out after 10 years. This is to say they can only allege priors that occur within 10 years of your current offense.
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They can be used against you for aggravation of sentencing. Georgia has a 5 year look back period, then a 10 year, and then a lifetime look back period. The more DUI's you have in the 5 year time period is the most severe, followed by the 10 year period, and then over a lifetime. When calculating the time period it is calculated from date of arrest to date of arrest, and not conviction. As far as using the prior cases against you at trial is going to depend as the laws in Georgia have changed recently. The general answer is no they cannot be used against you at trial, but there are narrow instances where they can be.
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Yes, the prosecutor and judge will almost certainly take those into account when sentencing if you are convicted. The DUI priors you mention are too old to trigger automatic aggravation, but that doesn't mean you won't be facing much stiffer penalties than someone with a clean record.
My website has a section on typical penalties for DUI convictions. You can find it on www.procterlaw.com.
You should consult with a good DUI lawyer immediately.
I agree with Attorney Yeargan and Chastine, however you also need to keep the following in mind: your question really goes to the heart of how thorough the team prosecuting you will be and where you were arrested. As mentioned before, the court may use your priors when determining your sentencing. As far as using in a trial scenario, as Attorney Chastine was referring to, Georgia now uses the Federal Rules for evidence so there are some limitations now on using those priors as similar transactions. You need to talk with an attorney at least for a free consultation to discuss and weigh your options.
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