Fighting a second DUI charge in Forsyth or Fulton counties presents unique challenges. However, our law firm has defended hundreds of clients accused of second and subsequent DUI charges. If you have recently been arrested for a second DUI, here are some key points and differences to remember:
1. In Georgia, there is a 10 year "look back" period, or window, on DUI charges. This means that from the date of arrest on your new DUI charge, the prosecutor is obligated to look back 10 years and count the total number of DUI convictions within that time. For instance, if you were arrested May 5, 2014 for DUI, the prosecutor would look back to May 5, 2004 for other DUI convictions.
It is important to remember that on a second DUI, you will have higher minimum punishments. Minimums does not mean that is what you will get, it is merelythe minimum allowed under the law. Forsyth County, in particular, frequently goes way above the minimum requirements in DUI cases.
Another important point to remember is that while a reduced DUI will not kick the minimum punishments into action, it will still negatively impact your new DUI case. Prosecutors are a lot less willing to review or negotiate a DUI case when they know one in the past was reduced or dismissed.
2. The Georgia Dept. of Driver Services is much tougher on second DUI charges, but only looks back 5 years. So, it is entirely possible to be treated as a second DUI offender in Forsyth or Fulton when handling your misdemeanor DUI charge, but still be treated as a first offender for license purposes.
However, if this is your second DUI within the past 5 years, then DDS will suspend your license for between 12-18 months, minimum. In the past year, there has been some added relief for those who are enrolled in substance abuse treatment and willing to use an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Speak to us about these options when we discuss your case in depth.
3. Just because a prior DUI conviction will likely complicate DUI negotiations in your new case, the prior DUI is not necessarily admissible in any trial you may have on the new charge. In 2013, the Georgia Legislature made it more difficult for prosecutors to use a prior DUI in your new DUI trial. This will certainly be of some relief and benefit if you want to fight your new DUI charges. Again, ask us about how these changes to the law could affect your case.
Both of our lawyers have fought many second and subsequent DUI charges for clients. If you have been charged with a second DUI, call us today to discuss your defense. Remember, time is of the essence; in Georgia you only have 10 days from your arrest date to file an appeal or you risk loosing your license without a hearing being conducted. Give us a call today, or contact us through our form on this site.