Will I have to spend time in jail if this is my first DUI charge?
No DUI case is the same and each judge handles punishments differently. A first time DUI conviction can include up to 1 year in jail. However, in most cases if your plead guilty you may just be put on probation, have your license suspended for a year, be mandated to pay a $1,000 fine, and required to attended alcohol education classes. You may qualify for a restricted license after a short period of suspension. If you contact Lawson and Berry as soon as possible following your arrest, one of our Attorneys may be able to file a “30 Day Letter” that will prevent the suspension of your license at an Administrative license hearing (ALS hearing). Immediately following your arrest you may have to serve at least 24 hours or up to 10 days in jail. You will also be required to perform 40 hours of community service. You also have the option of requesting an ignition interlock device be installed on your vehicle if this is your first DUI. Choosing whether to request an ALS hearing or install the device is a big decision that should be discussed with one of our Georgia DUI Attorneys.
What if this is my 2nd, 3rd, or 4th conviction for drunk driving?
If you receive a second DUI conviction within a 5 year period you are considered a repeat offender you will have your license suspended for 3 years, with the potential for a restricted license after 1 year. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device into any vehicle that you drive in order to start your car. If the second conviction occurred within a 10 time span you may face up to a one year license suspension and will have to spend a mandatory amount of time in jail, ranging from 72 hours to 90 days. In addition, an alcohol treatment program, 240 hours of community service, and fines may be mandated.
If this is your 3rd DUI in 5 years you will be classified as a habitual violator. Your license will be suspended for 5 years with the possibility of a restricted license after 2, but you must install and ignition interlock on your vehicle. If this your 3rd arrest in 10 years you will serve 90 to 180 days in jail, with a minimum of 15 days. If you are caught driving during the time your license is suspended as a habitual violator you may go to prison for 5 years.
If this is your 4th DUI (since July 1, 2008) you will be charged with a felony in Georgia and may go to prison for 5 years.
What is an ALS hearing?
An ALS (Administrative License Suspension) hearing takes place within 90 days of your arrest. This hearing is the time when it is determined if your license will be suspended. It is critical that you have a qualified DUI attorney at this time. The legal team at our firm is very familiar with this hearing and will initiate necessary defense actions on your behalf. Even if your license is suspended you may be able to appeal the decision.
How can avoid having my license suspended?
A good DUI lawyer in Henry County will be able to review the details of your case and present evidence to the court at your ALS hearing the raises doubt about the evidence the prosecution has presented against you. If your rights were violated during the incident be sure to inform your attorney so that any violations can be addressed. We can improve the likelihood of avoiding a license suspension, especially if we are involved in the process early.