If you were arrested for a third or fourth DUI offense then you have been through this legal scenario before. You know the penalties get stiffer for repeat DUI offenders, and you probably can guess that a third DUI conviction is going to be much tougher than your first DUI or second DUI.
Some states will raise a third offense DUI to a felony DUI because of your prior drunk driving convictions. You may have retained the same DUI lawyer for your prior DUIs, or your DUI convictions occurred in different states, and you had to hire a different DUI attorney for each case.
Habitual Offenses Bring Harsh Sentences
According to state law, any driver who has been convicted of two or more DUIs within the past five years is considered a habitual offender. As a result of their previous driving history, these individuals are rarely shown leniency by the courts
Court rules may allow a prosecutor to file a motion to request to use “prior acts” evidence against you at your third DUI trial. In some states and in some courts, prosecutors may be able to admit some or all of your prior DUI-DWI arrests or other criminal convictions as part of the third DUI trial evidence. Prior DUI-DWI arrests can be devastating evidence for a jury to hear at trial.
Fourth Offense Considered a Felony
As of July 1st, 2008 a fourth offender can become a felon. The way the law was written however, you have to have four offenses from July 1st, 2008 and forward. This is the prospective part of the law and it’s not retroactive. If you have four offenses from July 1st, 2008 and after, you can be a felon and you can go to jail as a convicted felon with a five year probation period. Even if it’s not a felony, if you have a fourth offense or third or second within 10 years, you’re going to be punished much more harshly than someone who has a first offense.
Repeat Offenders Subject to Embarrassing Public Shame
Georgia law requires that any person who is a repeat offender within ten years, as of the change July 1st 2008, has to publish a photo in the local newspaper. This includes your picture, the statistics from your case, what you did as far as the plea, the date, and how many DUI’s you had. All of that goes in the paper and is published at your cost. They charge you part of your fine as a cost to publish your picture in the paper.
That’s not very popular with the neighborhood but you can bet all your neighbors will pass that around if they see it. One more reason you don’t want to have a repeat DUI on your record is that you don’t want to have any on your record because you are setup for that situation.Embarrassment is just the start of it when your photo is put in the paper as a DUI offender.
How a Georgia DUI Attorney Can Help
Fortunately, being arrested for DUI is not the same as being convicted of the offense in court. Regardless of your past history, there are many ways to challenge a drunk driving arrest and reduce or avoid the consequences of a third conviction.