Second Offense DUI in Georgia
Felony or Misdemeanor?
A second offense DUI will be tried as a misdemeanor offense under Georgia laws. In Georgia, a misdemeanor offense is punishable with imprisonment up to one year. However, a second offense DUI can be tried as a felony offense if it has caused severe bodily injury, death, or in some cases, property damage.
In Georgia if a person is arrested for a second offense DUI within 10 years of the first DUI conviction, it will trigger a three year license suspension without any limited driving permit. The offender can request an administrative hearing against the license suspension within 10 days of the arrest. The person can attend a DUI program and get his or her license reinstated after 120 days by paying a reinstatement fee.
Look Back Period
In Georgia the look back period for repeat DUI offenses is 10 years. (Prior to 2008, it had been five years). So if the subsequent DUI offense occurs outside the 10 year look back period, it will be treated as the first DUI offense.
Georgia has severe penalties for a second DUI conviction. The offender must serve at least 72 hours in jail (and could spend up to one year). In addition, there is a fine of $600 minimum, up to $1,000. Typically, there is a minimum 30 days community service. The driver must pay a $210 set license reinstatement fee and engage in a mandatory clinical evaluation and, if indicated, completion of a substance abuse treatment program at the offender's expense. Ignition interlock devices are mandatory for all second DUI offenders.
Georgia law permits a prosecutor to reduce charges from a DUI to reckless driving. However, there are two things to consider: your record will continue to show a disposition for DUI, and you may recieve the same penalties as if convicted of a DUI. Reduction to reckless driving more typically occurs in first offenses.
Get Legal Advice
Because of the penalties (and the effect on your driving record and insurance) persons charged with a second offense DUI in Georgia should consider consulting with an experienced Georgia DUI attorney.