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DUI 3rd Offense in GA: Our Atlanta Criminal Lawyer Team

This article focuses upon the harsh penalties (if convicted) that are imposed when someone has three DUI convictions in the past decade. These punishments are especially draconian if those offenses happened within a five-year period.

The attorneys for DUI defense at our DUI law firm pay special attention to these third DUI cases and make sure to examine every aspect of our clients' cases. This starts with the basis of the arrest to see if there are any mistakes that can help secure a dismissal or a reduction of the charges.

Our firm's emphasis on "details" is the best answer to fighting these potentially devastating cases. By leaving no stone unturned, our litigators zero-in on potential flaws in the DUI arrest process, the roadside field sobriety testing and the officer's precise reading of the implied consent law advisement. All of these factors can play a huge role in ultimately obtaining a reduction of charges.

This article focuses on what happens after a 3rd DUI conviction within the last 10 years, and (even more importantly) if all three DUI arrests occurred within a 5-year period. The word "disruptive" is insufficient to describe the potential devastation to a person's career path, if convicted of a 3rd DUI.

Common Questions About a DUI Third Offence in GA

Can I Avoid Jail Time? Many callers are looking for a DUI defense lawyer who will tell him or her what they want to hear. That usually is that the lawyer can promise "no jail time for 3rd offense DUI," which is not possible in Georgia, if convicted of a 3rd DUI in GA in the prior decade.

When are 3 DUIs a felony? Never, in Georgia, is a 3rd DUI solely from being a 3rd offender. Other states, (like Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Michigan, and Indiana have such felony laws).

As can be learned below, though, being convicted of 3 DUIs in GA will be a stressful and disruptive life-changing event for those facing such crimes. Even fighting an winning will be a highly stressful process, in light of what is at stake.

A sampling of the many DUI law books co-authored by our three DUI law partners. The 2023 edition of Mr. Head's 1995 treatise now sells for $989 per copy.

The Reality of a 3rd DUI in 10 years in GA. Being found guilty of a third DUI in Georgia carries the most severe of penalties for any Georgia misdemeanor D.U.I. offense. Without question, our statutes applicable to a Georgia DUI laws 3rd offense are the most confusing, when it comes to loss of driving privileges.

Our appellate courts have ruled that the date of the conviction is the start of the revocation, even if the Clerk of Court delayed sending in the notice to the GA DDS. Lokey v. Georgia Dept. of Driver Services, 291 Ga.App. 856 (2008).

If a person has 3 DUIs in 5 years (using dates of arrest to measure), the individual (on the 3rd DUI conviction) will be classified as a habitual offender and their driver's license will be revoked. If the case involves a third offence DUI within the last 10 years, but only the accused's 2nd DUI conviction within the past five (5) years, this results in a three-year suspension, which is much less onerous as the habitual violator alternative of total revocation.

Third time DUI license suspension or revocation. Under OCGA 40-5-63, any 3rd offence DUI within 5 years triggers a habitual violator notification. This conviction revokes (not suspends) that person's Georgia license, meaning that his or her status on the Georgia Department of Driver Services computer is wiped off the records.

Subsection(a)(3) such license "shall be revoked as provided for in paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (a) of Code Section 40-5-62." Only when eligible to re-apply and take the written test [as set for in subsection (a) of that Code section] and a new written exam and driving test is taken again in the distant future can an HV status person ever drive again in the State of Georgia.

What Happens on Your Third DUI in Georgia?

Is my case a misdemeanor or felony? Because they have never been arrested before, many people think their first DUI is a felony offense. Typically, 99% of DUI 1st offenses will be misdemeanor crimes, unless this arrest involved the accused's "at fault" motor vehicle accident leaving another person or persons dead or seriously injured.

Every driving under the influence case is unique, however. Over 80% are first offense DUI cases, and over 10% are second DUI offenses.

Those charged with a DUI for the third time in Georgia will always have the option to go to trial. Have our attorneys won such third DUI in GA cases? Yes, and our partners have even fought an 8th DUI offense, and gotten that case reduced with no jail time.

Because a 4th DUI in Georgia in a ten-year span is a felony, a 3rd DUI offense in Georgia is the next most difficult level. Statistically, most people with a DUI third offense opt for entry into the DUI Court program (if the County in which the person was arrested has this accountability court) or possibly a Drug Court in the Superior Court for the smaller population counties.

Even those facing their 3rd DUI in GA need to file their administrative license suspension appeal within 30 days of their arrest. A fee of $150 is required as the filing fee.

It is very important to mention that (in the State of Georgia), even those accused of a DUI 3rd offense in 5 years or a third DUI in 10 years, are allowed to appeal the administrative suspension. That administrative appeal may have significant strategic value in fighting the criminal case when your DUI 3rd offense case is handled by knowledgeable DWI-DUI lawyers.

In Georgia, a 3rd DUI conviction is typically still treated as a misdemeanor but (as described above) may also be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. If charged with a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, expect the fines to be near $5,000 as well as increased jail terms.

The Puzzle of 3 DUIs in Georgia: It the 3rd DUI within 5 Years or 10 Years?

In addition, based on dates of arrest, 3 DUI convictions within 5 years will be classified as a high and aggravated (H&A) misdemeanor, when it comes to jail time sentence calculations. This impacts the "3 DUI jail time" mandatory penalty calculations.

A third offense for drunk driving in 5 years also causes that person to be declared a "habitual violator." In a unique situation, where a person appeals his conviction due to the fact that he had a driver's license under a different name on his license, the Georgia Court of Appeals had no problem upholding his conviction of habitual violator crimes, when police had "matched" him to other convictions with similar "names" on those licenses being the same person. Munna v. State, 331 Ga.App. 410 (2015).

With more than 30 annual recognitions, our three law partners are all Georgia Super Lawyers.

So, if your judge imposed a maximum 12-month jail sentence, no normal "good time" credit (e.g., for every day served you get credit for 2 days, if you behave), nor do early release rules apply, since H&A offenders must serve 26 of every 30 days of that sentence, or about 328 days.

For a 3rd DUI offense in Georgia: How much Jail Time?

In GA, the penalties for a person's third dui conviction include imprisonment for many days. In Georgia, if someone is charged with their third DUI within 10 years, GA DUI law requires that person spend a minimum of fifteen (15) days in custody. Many courts routinely sentence 3rd offenders to 60 days to 90 days across the State.

Be aware that most Georgia judges (in repeat offense impaired driving cases) will side with the Prosecutor by handing down longer sentences than that minimum. A prior DUI changes the attitude of many otherwise reasonable judges.

In Georgia, if someone is found guilty of their third DUI within ten years, (but not a 3rd in 5 DUI) the offender may:

(a) Be liable for hefty fines ranging from one to five thousand dollars, plus state surcharges matching or exceeding that fine amount;

(b) Having a jail sentence of up to one year (with a minimum of fifteen days, which rarely happens);

Jail time is unavoidable on a conviction of a 3rd offense DUI within 10 years in the State of Georgia. Fighting the case is one answer that can change that harsh reality.

(c) Having to serve probation for a period between twelve and thirty-six months;

(d) Being required to perform at least 240 hours of community service;

(e) Being notified of a five-year driver's license suspension, which disqualifies the person from applying for any type of limited privileges for at least 24 months;

(f) Once able to obtain a probationary permit, having to pay for and install an ignition interlock device and have it downloaded and serviced monthly;

(g) For all vehicles license plates registered in the offender's name in GA, the offender must surrender all tags;

(h) In some courts, the offender will be encouraged to participate in a DUI court program or drug court program;

(i) Due to the recidivist status, the convicted person must complete a seventeen week (or longer) serious of 3-hour sessions for of alcohol and drug counseling,

(j) Complete a mandatory drug or alcohol treatment program;

(j) Pay public announcement in the local newspaper as a "habitual violator." If this is your third DUI conviction within 5 years in Georgia, then the convicted person must pay a $25 fee to publish a notice of your conviction and a photograph in your county newspaper.

(k) You must also surrender your license plates to all vehicles registered in your name.

(l) Many clients have travel plans for visiting other countries. Those plans are best "put on hold" until the case is concluded. Plus, you are not automatically able to "enter" certain counties, unless you first receive permission to do so.

(m) Some college-age clients have reported delays or denials for receiving financial aid for college;

(n) Those convicted of more than one crime (e.g., a 3rd DUI in Georgia) will find challenges obtaining loans;

(o) In higher-dollar markets, leasing certain luxury apartments or condos can be a challenge, since the developments don't want disruptive or unsafe tenants, with DUI-drugs or other convictions;

(p) Having multiple DUI convictions on your record can later cause issues with your DUI car insurance, and possibly block a job offer when trying to qualify for certain high-value jobs that offer a company vehicle to drive; and

(q) If convicted of DUI, that black mark will stay on your criminal record for the rest of your life. These convictions stay with you to the grave, since Georgia law blocks expungement. The effects of a DUI conviction can last a long time, even after jail time and community service hours have been completed.

Driver's License Revocation for 3rd DUI within 5 Years in Georgia

What is the License Suspension for 3rd DUI? Previous convictions for traffic-related offenses, (e.g., alcohol offenses committed prior to turning 21), and drug-related or marijuana-related charges on the driver's record causing license loss may disqualify that person from obtaining a probationary license.

Plus, if the person is eligible for the probationary license, she or he may be obligated to install and regularly maintain an ignition interlock device (IID), which could incur a monthly cost of anywhere between $70 and $120.

What Does Habitual Violator (HV) Status Mean?

In addition to a five-year driver's license revocation and will have no option to obtain a limited driving permit during the first two (2) years. This non-driving status is often referred to as a "hard suspension."

After two years of not driving, it is possible to apply for a probationary license, so long as certain prerequisite conditions are met. The person must have completed the risk reduction course (DUI school) and have had a clinical evaluation for alcohol and drug dependency. Whatever rehabilitation steps that evaluation recommended must be finished, as well as the alcohol or drug treatment program.

In Georgia a third DUI within five years can lead to a hefty fine and surcharges, with some judges. The same is true if your arrest is for a third DUI within 10 years.

Plus, because judges have wide latitude in sentencing, in many courts, the jail time can be significant. If in no other "category" of expertise as driving while intoxicated defense, our DUI attorneys excel in finding creative solutions.

Our firm's experienced DUI legal professionals have helped numerous repeat DUI offenders in Georgia, beginning in 1976. This prior experience in dealing with these highly punitive cases enables our criminal law attorneys about how to guide you through your case.

As can be seen from the 1988 article below, our lawyers have found creative ways to win DUI cases for decades, and 2023 is no different. Mr. Head wrote a book entitled "101 Ways to Avoid a Drunk Driving Conviction" in 1991, and the case set forth below was only ONE of those ways to win.

National Law Journal article from 1988 featuring William C. Head's skill at finding creative ways to fight a DUI in Georgia. This was a case for which he was hired as the DUI lawyer Athens GA.

With a FREE Initial Consultation, What are you Waiting For?

Only one DUI law firm in the State has the leading law book for DUI defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges. That would be our law partners' book, The Georgia DUI Trial Practice Manual.

In Georgia, the penalties for a third DUI are severe. Harsh laws passed by the Georgia General Assembly an attempt to discourage further offenses.

These consequences can have a drastic effect on your life, your family, your work, and your future. If you have any "way" to win, our lawyers for DUI near me want to help you fight the case.

Free Consultation and DUI legal advice with our award-winning DUI lawyers near me, with statewide coverage in Georgia.

Our highly experienced Georgia 3rd DUI attorneys have helped numerous repeat DUI offenders and are knowledgeable on how to help you with your case. The call is free, for your initial consultation.

Our law professionals can offer most clients a legal fee payment plan that she or he can afford. Call now, 24 hours a day, by dialing 404-567-5515.

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