If you've been charged with your 2nd DUI within 5 or 10 years, the consequences can be very severe. You need a lawyer to guide you through this process. Only an attorney can advise you of your chances of defeating the charge.
Georgia, like all states, has a graduated degree of punishment for DUI convictions subsequent to one's first. The first thing to understand is that these metrics are not based on "lifetime" convictions. Instead, for the purposes of punishment, O.C.G.A. ?40-6-391(c)(2) is based on a 10-year period of time which is measured from date of arrest to date of arrest. So, if you're arrested (and subsequently convicted) for DUI in March of 2002 and are re-arrested for DUI (and subsequently convicted) in February of 2012, the second arrest would be within 10 years of the first arrest. For the purposes of punishment, it would be considered your second DUI in 10 years. Secondly, it does not matter whether a plea of nolo contendere or guilty was entered. They are considered identical for purposes of punishment related to subsequent convictions. For a 2nd DUI conviction (within 10 years) the PUNISHMENT is as follows: 1) The minimum fine shoots up to $600. The maximum is still $1,000. 2) The term of imprisonment is from 90 days to 12 months. As with a first conviction, the judge may suspend, stay or probate the term of imprisonment except that at least 72 hours MUST be served at the county jail. 3) 30 days of community service! That's 30 days multiplied by 8 hours. So, a minimum of 240 hours of community service. 4) The person must attend DUI school, again. 5) The person must get another drug & alcohol evaluation and follow any recommended follow-up treatment. 6) A period of probation for 12 months minus any time the person actually served in jail. The probation cannot "early terminate".
License Suspension/Administrative Consequences
What happens to your driver's license is an "administrative consequence" of your conviction. As such, it is not considered "punishment". It is not something imposed by the Court, but something that happens as a consequence of the conviction. For these "administrative consequences", the law considers only those convictions occurring in the last 5 years (from arrest to arrest). Confused yet? If this is your second DUI conviction in the last 5 years (from arrest to arrest), rather than receiving an "Affidavit of First Conviction", your license is suspended for 3 years pursuant to O.C.G.A. ?40-50-63. And you will not be eligible for full reinstatement for a period of 18 months. However, upon conviction (or plea) your attorney can ask the Judge for a "certificate of eligibility for an ignition interlock device limited driving permit". After serving a 120 day hard suspension. You may take the certificate, signed by the Judge, to the Department of Driver Services to apply for your limited driving permit which will be subject to the following conditions: 1) You must prove eligibility for a Drug Court program or clinical treatment as provided in O.C.G.A. ?40-5-63.1. 2) You must get the ignition interlock device in every car registered in your name and you must maintain the device in your car for 1 year. 3) You must not drive any vehicle NOT equipped with a device for 1 year. After being monitored for one year, the restriction for maintaining and using such ignition interlock device is removed. You are then permitted to renew your limited permit for additional periods of two months, at a time, until you're eligible for full reinstatement after 18 months.
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