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Understanding the penalties for second, third DUIs

Last month, our blog spent some time discussing how there are no free passes here in Georgia when it comes to impaired driving and how, contrary to popular belief, this is true even for first time offenders. To that end, we discussed how steep fines, license suspension and even incarceration were all on the table for those convicted of a first offense DUI.

In keeping with this theme, today's post will spend some time discussing how those who make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol for a second or even a third time face even more severe consequences.

It must first be repeated that the blood alcohol limit for adults 21 and up here in Georgia is the same as every other state: .08. As such, any driver found to be at or above this threshold will be arrested and charged with impaired driving.

If this is a person's second DUI offense within ten years of their first DUI offense, they face the following potential penalties:

  • A sentence of at least 90 days or up to one year
  • A fine ranging from a minimum of $600 to a maximum of $1,000
  • 30 days of community service
  • Mandatory clinical evaluation and, if necessary, completion of a treatment program at the person's expense  

If this is a person's third DUI offense within ten years of their second DUI offense, they face the following potential penalties:

  • A sentence of at least 120 days or up to one year
  • A fine ranging from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000
  • 30 days of community service
  • Mandatory clinical evaluation and, if necessary, completion of a treatment program at the person's expense  

As serious as all this seems, consider that we also didn't mention things like license suspension, license reinstatement fees, classification as a "habitual violator," ignition interlock devices and license plate seizure, to name only a few.

All of this serves to underscore how important it is for anyone facing charges for a second, third or subsequent DUI to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to help ensure the protection of their rights and their reputation.

We'll revisit this topic in future posts, discussing Georgia's open container laws.  

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