Prior DUI Convictions in Gwinnett County
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If you want to know how prior DUI convictions in Gwinnett County affect your future, contact Philip Kim Law, P.C. Contact us today for a consultation. Call now!
Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on December 29, 2022.
What Is Considered a Prior DUI Offense?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime that is taken seriously in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The fact that the Gwinnett County police department has a specially trained DUI task force for stopping and arresting DUI drivers proves that.
After an arrest, when determining mandatory minimum sentences, it’s important to establish whether a driver has prior DUI offenses on their record. If they have a DUI conviction in the past 10 years or less, they will face harsher penalties.
A subsequent DUI charge can result in significantly higher jail, fines, and probation recommendations from Georgia prosecutors.
Can Prior Convictions Be Used in Court?
Georgia law doesn’t favor drivers with prior DUI convictions, and neither do prosecutors and judges. They are required by law to hold your prior DUI sentences against you for 10 years when they consider your Gwinnett County DUI case, potential penalties, and a plea offer. Having DUI attorneys on your side who understand the DUI process in Gwinett County can be beneficial to the outcome of your case.
Penalties for DUI Convictions in Gwinnett County
There are two types of Gwinnett County DUI charges a driver can face: DUI per se and DUI less safe. To be convicted of a DUI per se, the DUI prosecutor only has to prove that an individual was operating a vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over the legal limit.
The legal limit for drivers older than 21 is .08%; however, it’s less for those with a commercial driver’s license and those younger than 21.
Under Georgia’s less safe laws, a person under the influence of alcohol cannot operate a moving vehicle or be in actual physical control of one when it is less safe for them to operate it. The term “less safe” refers to a driver who is not as safe to drive because they ingested alcohol or drugs before or while driving.
When a driver is convicted of DUI for the first time, they can serve from ten days to a year in jail. However, a judge can suspend their jail sentence except for 24 hours if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit. A fine of up to $1,000, at least 40 hours of community service, and 12 months probation are also possible penalties. Convicted drivers may also have to attend DUI alcohol and drug counseling and a DUI school.
Penalties for Subsequent DUI Convictions
Subsequent Gwinnett County DUI arrests and convictions within 10 years include the following penalties:
From 90 days to a year in jail (a judge can suspend everything except 72 hours)
Fines from $600 to $1,000
Minimum 30 days of community service
Probation (12 months)
Substance abuse treatment program (required by DUI law)
- DUI School
From 120 days to a year in jail (15 days must be served)
Fines from $1,000 to $5,000
Minimum 30 days of community service
Probation (12 months)
Clinical evaluation for substance abuse (required by DUI law)
Despite the fact that a third DUI within ten years is considered a misdemeanor, the driver can obtain “habitual violator” status if the offense is deemed high and aggravated.
Fourth DUI offenses are considered felonies and carry mandatory jail terms of one to five years, fines up to $5,000, community service, and a five-year probation sentence. Felony DUI poses a serious problem with lifelong consequences.
If you were arrested by Gwinnett police officers for DUI, and you have already been convicted three times, contact criminal lawyers in Lawrenceville, GA right away.
Administrative Penalties After Multiple DUI Convictions
In addition to criminal penalties, DUI conviction also carries administrative penalties. While criminal elements of these cases can be prosecuted before the Gwinnett County Recorder’s Court or the Gwinnett County State Court, the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) is authorized to withdraw an individual’s driver’s license if the licensee has committed a serious offense.
After the first DUI arrest and conviction, drivers face up to 12 months of driver’s license suspension. After the second drunk-driving conviction, the driver’s license can be suspended for up to three years, while the third conviction carries up to five years of license suspension.
Bear in mind you have 30 days to decide whether you want to file an appeal against the suspension or install an ignition interlock device. Failure to file for an Administrative License Suspension Hearing can result in your Georgia driver’s license suspension. At the hearing, the evidence against the driver, such as the results of breath or state-administered chemical test, and testimony of the arresting officer regarding field sobriety tests, will be considered.
Does a DUI Go Away After 10 Years in Gwinnett County?
Any past drunk driving offense can be used by the prosecution or the judge to establish a pattern of misconduct and strengthen the case against you. Typically, in Gwinnett County, a 5-year look-back period is used to determine the consequences of an individual’s driver’s license.
On the other hand, a 10-year look-back period is used when determining criminal consequences. However, the courts can look beyond the mandatory look-back period and consider the driver’s entire criminal record. That means a DUI conviction over 15 years ago can still be seen as an aggravating factor.
Can You Get a DUI Removed from Your Record in Gwinnett County?
Unfortunately, that is not an option in Gwinnett County or the State of Georgia. A DUI conviction can’t be removed or pardoned unless you were never convicted. Gwinnett County DUI cases that were closed, placed on the “dead docket,” or dismissed may qualify for record restriction. That also applies to cases with reversed convictions and not-guilty verdicts.
However, a drunk driving conviction can’t be removed from your criminal record, and it will show at the background check. That is why it is recommended to be proactive and hire a Gwinnett County DUI Lawyer as soon as you face a DUI arrest.
How Can a Gwinnett County DUI Attorney Help If You Have a Priorable Offense
Having previous DUI arrests or a conviction on your record can result in more severe penalties. However, just because you were convicted once doesn’t mean you will be convinced again. If you simply enter a guilty plea without fighting the charges or hiring a DUI lawyer can result in serious consequences.
Gwinnett County DUI lawyers can use a variety of defenses, such as to challenge your DUI arrest or make sure your rights were protected and you were correctly given your implied consent rights. They can also evaluate the procedures involved and even challenge your BAC results.
A skilled Gwinnett County DUI lawyer can also try to get your charges reduced to reckless driving and assess whether you may be eligible for a Gwinnett County DUI Court Program.
If you have further questions on previous DUI convictions, reach out to Philip Kim Law, P.C. DUI defense lawyer Philip Kim has been routinely handling Gwinnett County DUI cases for years. He can thoroughly examine all elements of your drunk driving arrest to find weaknesses in the state’s case.