DUI Attorney

DUI AttorneyThere is often a general misunderstanding that judges and prosecutors have wide discretion on punishment when it comes to a DUI. In fact, it is just the opposite. In the three branches of government, the legislature writes the laws. Assuming that the statute does not violate the Constitution, either of the United States or the state of Georgia, then the judge and prosecutor (solicitor) must follow the law as written. With a first DUI, most solicitors and judges tend to err on the side of leniency. However, this isn’t always the case. Walking into a court room without an attorney can lead to disastrous results.

Depending upon how many DUI’s one has on his/her record determines the punishment in Georgia. According to the statute, O.C.G.A. ∫ 40-6-391 [O.C.G.A. means Official Code of Georgia Annotated] details the punishment for Driving Under the Influence, paraphrased here in part, (subject to being changed at any time, so it is best to consult a DUI Attorney):

• Every person convicted of a DUI, upon a first or second conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, upon a third conviction thereof, be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor, and upon a fourth or subsequent conviction thereof, be guilty of a felony … and shall be punished as follows:

First conviction (within the previous ten years)

(A) A fine of not less than $300.00 and not more than $1,000.00, … (Plus surcharges imposed by the legislature);

(B) A period of imprisonment of not fewer than ten days nor more than 12 months, which … at the sole discretion of the judge, may be suspended, stayed, or probated, except that if the offender’s alcohol concentration at the time of the offense was 0.08 grams or more, the judge may suspend, stay, or probate all but 24 hours of any term of imprisonment …;

(C) Not fewer than 40 hours of community service, … [so don’t ask the judge to drop the community service, he/she can’t];

(D) Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program;

(E) A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment ;

(F) Probation of not fewer than 12 months.
Second conviction within a ten-year period of time

(A) A fine of not less than $600.00 and not more than $1,000.00 … (Plus surcharges imposed by the legislature);

(B) A period of imprisonment of not fewer than 90 days and not more than 12 months. The … offender shall be required to serve not fewer than 72 hours of actual incarceration;

(C) Not fewer than 30 days of community service;

(D) Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.

(E) A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment;

(F) A period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated.
Third conviction within a ten-year period of time, considered a “high and aggravated misdemeanor”

(A) A fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $5,000.00, …;

(B) A mandatory period of imprisonment of not fewer than 120 days and not more than 12 months. The offender shall be required to serve not fewer than 15 days of actual incarceration.

(C) Not fewer than 30 days of community service;

(D) Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.

(E) A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment; and

(F) A period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated;
Fourth conviction within a ten-year period of time, a felony

(A) A fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $5,000.00, plus surcharges;

(B) A period of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than five years; provided, however, that the judge may suspend, stay, or probate all but 90 days of any term of imprisonment …;

(C) Not fewer than 60 days of community service; provided, however, that if a defendant is sentenced to serve three years of actual imprisonment, the judge may suspend the community service;

(D) Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program.

(E) A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; and

(F) A period of probation of five years less any days during which the person is actually imprisoned.

Consult a DUI Attorney before relying on any written information, including the above.