Navigating the Complexities of a 3rd DUI in Georgia

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Facing a 3rd DUI in Georgia? Learn about the legal implications, penalties, and how Farnsworth & Murphy’s experienced DUI attorneys can guide you through this challenging time.

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Are You Facing a Third DUI Charge in Georgia?

As in other US states, it is illegal to drive or be in control of a moving vehicle while drunk or under the influence of drugs in Georgia. This is due to the obvious dangers doing so would pose to the lives and property of people around. Being convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) comes with strict penalties to deter offenders. Repeat offenders face even steeper consequences.

Individuals convicted of a 3rd DUI offense within ten years face a mandatory incarceration period. They also lose their driving privileges and face several other sanctions. This article will examine the consequences of a third DUI in Georgia and offer helpful information should you find yourself in this regrettable circumstance.

If you or your loved one is facing DUI charges, our skilled Atlanta DUI Lawyers at Farnsworth & Murphy LLC can help you fight the charges. We can evaluate your case to identify optimal defense approaches and advocate fiercely for you in and out of court.

Understanding 3rd DUI Charges in Georgia

The stringent DUI laws and guidelines in Georgia are targeted at discouraging driving under the influence and ensuring public safety. Georgia DUI laws are codified in OCGA § 40-6-391.

The lawful limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in Georgia is 0.08% for people over 21 years of age. Meanwhile, individuals under 21 are prohibited from driving with 0.02% or more BAC. For commercial motorists, the limit is 0.04%.

In Georgia, a 3rd offense of driving under the influence (DUI) is categorized as a high and aggravated misdemeanor, which is just below a felony. The fines for a third DUI are the harshest amongst non-felony offenses.

Part of Georgia’s DUI regulations includes a “look back period.” It determines how far back the state will consider prior DUI sentences when assessing charges and penalties for a present DUI crime. In Georgia, the look-back period is ten years.

Suppose a person is found guilty of a third DUI offense within ten years of their previous DUI convictions. In that case, the current crime is considered a repeat violation and subject to more severe penalties.

In other words, a third DUI within a period of more than ten years will not be regarded as a repeat or consecutive offense for the purpose of sentencing. This ten-year look-back period is meant to discourage recidivism (repeat offending).

Penalties for a 3rd DUI in Georgia

The criminal consequences of DUI for a 3rd offense in Georgia include:

    • Mandatory jail time ranging from 120 days to 12 months (offenders must serve at least 15 of these days in actual incarceration)
    • Fines between $1000 and $5000
    • Completion of a minimum of 30 days of community service
    • Enrollment in a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program within 120 days of conviction or 90 days after being released from incarceration

    For 3rd DUIs within five years: (Habitual violators)

    • Suspension of the motorist’s license for up to five years
    • Vehicle forfeiture or impoundment where the habitual violator is found to be operating a motor vehicle in spite of their revoked license

    Having three prior DUI convictions on your criminal record can make life challenging. It might lead to job loss and make it difficult to secure new employment. If you have a professional license, it may be taken away. University admissions may also become difficult to get. In addition, there can be economic consequences, like becoming ineligible for funding for housing or a car.

    Due to the severity of the penalties of a 3rd DUI, it could be very helpful to seek advice from a seasoned DUI attorney at Farnsworth & Murphy LLC to secure your rights and future.

    License Suspension and Habitual Violator Status

    A person convicted of a third DUI offense within five years is classified as a Habitual Violator, as per OCGA § 40-5-58(a). A third DUI conviction in Georgia leads to a mandatory revocation of your driver’s license for a minimum of five years.

    After two years of the revocation period have passed, habitual violators may be eligible for a probationary license if they meet several conditions, including the following:

    • They must not have been convicted for or pleaded ‘nolo contendere’ to an offense that violates state laws or local ordinances relating to the regulation of traffic and vehicles.
    • They must have completed a DUI alcohol course or a defensive driving course as designated by the Georgia Department of Driving Services.
    • They must submit a sworn affidavit that they do not excessively consume alcohol or abuse controlled drugs. A violation of this affidavit will lead to misdemeanor charges and the revocation of the probationary license.
    • They must provide proof that a refusal to issue the probationary license would cause them extreme hardship as defined in OCGA §40-5-58(d)(1).

    To get a probationary license, habitual violators must also prove financial responsibility by obtaining SR-22 insurance (high-risk insurance). SR-22 insurance typically involves higher premiums.

    They would also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle, which makes them pass a breathalyzer test before they can start the vehicle.

    The Importance of Legal Representation

    As you already know, the consequences of a third DUI conviction are hectic, strict, and can be overwhelming to handle. A top-rated Atlanta DUI lawyer at Farnsworth & Murphy LLC can assist you by:

    • Clarifying the charges brought against you and ensuring you recognize the legal implications.
    • Conducting a complete evaluation of your case’s facts and pertinent evidence.
    • Developing a solid defense strategy customized to your situation.
    • Negotiating with the prosecution for potential plea deals.
    • Preparing you for a jury or bench trial with thorough attention to information.
    • Fighting for a satisfactory outcome in your case.

    Build Your DUI Defense with Farnsworth & Murphy LLC

    If you have been arrested for DUI a third time, Farnsworth & Murphy LLC is willing and ready to represent and defend you. Our attorneys understand the importance of properly advising our clients and providing effective legal representation. Our objective is to pursue defense avenues that can reduce the impact of a third DUI conviction on your life and future.

    Schedule a free consultation with us to discuss your case and take the first step towards salvaging your future.

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    Free Initial Consultation

    Call Farnsworth & Murphy LLC at 470-601-7056 or fill out our easy-to-use online form to get in touch and schedule a free initial consultation.

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