3rd DUI – first two were over six years ago. How will this be charged?

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3rd DUI – first two were over six years ago. How will this be charged?

Recently arrested for my third DUI however the first two were over 6 years ago. What kind of penalties am I looking at? and will I at least be able to obtain a permit to drive to work?

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Criminal Law, Georgia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Georgia has a 5-year "look-back period".  Basically, this is the period of time that the court will look back in to your driving record for the purposes of determining mandatory minimum punishment.  Under your facts, by virtue of Georgia's look-back period, this can be considered to be your first offense.   

You should be aware however, in deciding the extent to which a repeat offender should be punished, most judges will look at a person's lifetime record not just the 5 year look-back period. 

Whenever the look-back period is discussed, the method of counting is as follows:

  1. take the date of arrest for the previous DUI offense (not the disposition or plea date);
  2. the prior DUI "counts" against you, whether it was disposed of as a plea of guilty, or with a trial that resulted in a "guilty" verdict or where a nolo contendre plea was ultimately accepted; and
  3. take the date of arrest in the current case, and determine if more than five full years have expired.

 In Georgia, for a 1st DUI offense the penalties are as follows:

Fine - $300 -$1000 plus any statutory surcharges (typically 15-25%).

Jail - 10 days to 12 months, all except for 24 hours may be suspended, stayed or probated.  You must be placed on 12 months probation less any jail time received. 

Community Service - a minimum of 40 hours. 

License Suspension - if you are 21 and over, your license will suspended for 1 year.  You will be able to get your license back at the end of 120 days if you have completed an alcohol/drug risk reduction course (DIU school) and paid the appropriate reinstatement fee.  During those 120 days, you will be able to get a limited driving permit.  Note:  If you are convicted of a DUI charge that involves drugs, your license will be suspended for 1 year and you will not be able to get reinstated for 6 months.  No limited driving permit is allowed. 

Remember, a bad record can come back to haunt a person facing a current DUI charge.  Many times judges ignore the look-back period and review your entire record for such purposes as increasing punishment and the like. 

You really should have an attorney represent you on this.  DUI cases involve a very technical area of the law and experienced counsel may be able to get the charges thrown out or at lease reduced and/or minimize the penalties.





B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a Georgia attorney, but my research suggests that your state only looks back 5 years, for determining multiple-offense status. And a first offender can, in some cases, get a permit to drive to work.  I think it's very important for you to have a lawyer who practices DUI law in your area representing you, to make sure you get the best outcome here.  One place to find an attorney is our website, http://attorneypages.com

One thing that's not clear is whether there's any time limit to the "look-back" for a fourth-DUI conviction penalty:  the State takes your car, and keeps it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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