Are You Being Penalized For a DUI?
Beginning July 1, 2008, Georgia enacted new and tougher DUI laws. Before this date, penalties for DUI cases were determined by how many DUI offenses an individual had in a 5 year period, measured from date of offense to date of offense. Or if an individual did not have a prior conviction within a 5 year period, the punishment would be determined by how many DUI offenses a person had over their lifetime. These 2 units of measurement are commonly referred to as “look back” periods. Under the old DUI laws, multiple offenses within a 5 year period were treated more harshly than multiple offenses that occurred over an individual's lifetime, but that were more than 5 years apart.
Beginning July 1, 2008, Georgia added a third category to these look back periods for determining the severity of DUI punishments. In addition to the 5 year and lifetime look back periods, Georgia added a 10 year look back period. Now, in order to determine punishment for multiple DUI offenses, prosecutors and judges look to see how many prior DUI convictions an individual has had in a 5 year period, 10 year period, and over their lifetime.
Multiple offenses occurring within a 5 year period are still treated most harshly by Georgia courts, and these offenses carry certain statutory minimums and requirements that the 10 year and lifetime look back periods do not carry. Additionally, multiple offenses occurring within 5 years of each other carry enhanced license suspension penalties. Georgia only imposes harsher license suspension periods for multiple offenses within a 5 year period, and Georgia does not impose these enhanced license suspension penalties for individuals who have multiple 10 year and lifetime offense.
For instance, if an individual is convicted of 2 separate DUI offenses within 5 years of each other, this individual will face a 1 year hard license suspension with no limited permit for work followed by a 6 month period of having an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. However, if an individual is convicted of a second DUI that occurred more than 5 years since this individual's first DUI (whether this second offense is within 10 years or is simply a second lifetime conviction which is older than 10 years), then this individual would have their license suspended for 120 days, with a limited permit for work, and would not have to get an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.
Since Georgia only has statutory minimums and other requirements for multiple DUI convictions within 5 years of each other, the information below is based on multiple convictions occurring within a 5 year period from date of arrest to date of arrest. Keep in mind that if an individual gets a second DUI conviction outside of 5 years but within 10 years, or gets a second conviction outside of 10 years but this is a second lifetime conviction, the court will most likely increase fines and order community service, treatment, and even jail- dependent on the individual's prior convictions.
However, since there are no statutory minimums or other requirements for multiple convictions within 10 years, or over a lifetime, the court may not enhance any punishment, and may sentence the individual as a first lifetime DUI offender.