Second convictions for driving under the influence present a unique consideration for motorists in the state of Georgia. A recent example of this type of charge occurred when a motorist rammed a Polk County family’s home. Already charged with driving under the influence in 2009, the motorist in question struck the side of the family’s house killing the woman who lived at the residence but fortunately sparing the life of the woman’s husband.
By the time the accident was over, the motorist’s vehicle had come to a stop inside the family’s kitchen. Law enforcement determined by tire marks in the adjacent road and nearby lawns that the vehicle had come down a nearby road at a particularly speed then swerved uncontrollably 400 or 500 feet prior to crashing into the house’s guest bedroom, dining room, and kitchen.
Three neighbors had to rush to the location in an effort to keep the driver from fleeing the scene of the crime. While the driver refused to provide a blood sample to test his blood-alcohol level, the driver did fail a field sobriety test. In addition to the 2009 drunk driving charge that caused property damage and bodily injury, the driver was also convicted of careless driving after a crash in 2013.
The motorist now faces charges including DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and a second DUI offense.
Georgia’s Ten-Year Look Back Period
In Georgia, if an individual is arrested of a second DUI offense within 10 years of the first DUI conviction, an individual will automatically result in an individual facing a three-year license suspension without any limited driving permit. If an individual has a second DUI offense longer than 10 years ago, the charge will be treated as the first DUI offense for the individual.
A Second DUI Offense Can Be a Misdemeanor or Felony
A second DUI offense can result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge. In the state of Georgia, a misdemeanor can result in punishment of up to one year. If an event caused serious bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, a second DUI offense is likely to be tried as a felony offense. Ignition interlock installation is mandatory for all second DUI offenders.
Options for Second-Time DUI Offenders
Fortunately, there are some methods that individuals charged with a second DUI offense can take to have a driver’s license reinstated. Individuals must request an administrative hearing within 10 days after the arrest. If the hearing proceeds successfully, an individual often can attend a DUI program and have his or her license reinstated 120 days after an arrest by paying a reinstatement fee.
Georgia law also permits a prosecutor to reduce charges from a DUI to reckless driving, but even in the event that such a rare plea is made an individual’s record will continue to show a disposition for DUI and an individual may still receive the same penalties as if he or she had been convicted of a DUI.
The Assistance of a Seasoned Atlanta DUI Attorney
If you face a second DUI charge or any other type of DUI related offense in the Atlanta area, consider retaining the services of strong and competent legal counsel at Yeargan & Kert, LLC.