No one wants to get pulled over for drunk driving, but the truth is that some people will face more serious consequences in that situation than others will. Aggravating factors such as having a very high blood alcohol concentration, causing property damage, injuring others or driving with children in the vehicle while impaired could all increase the penalties.
However, those without any of those aggravating factors may still find themselves subject to worse penalties than others. The risk for worse consequences stems from previous driving history. Specifically, those who have had a prior DUI conviction in Georgia will face more significant consequences if they plead guilty or get convicted.
A first time DUI carries the lowest consequences
People do make mistakes, and it’s possible for someone to wind up charged with a DUI without having any intent to drive while impaired. Those facing their first DUI charge in Georgia will have the lowest level of penalties to worry about. Those consequences might include up to $1,000 in fines, incarceration that lasts up to a year and the loss of their license for a year.
What consequences do repeat offenders potentially face?
If a person accused of a DUI has one previous impaired driving charge in the last five years, the consequences that they face will increase notably. The minimum fine and minimum jail sentence will increase, although the maximum penalty does not. They could also lose their license for up to three years.
Third DUI offenses carry even more significant penalties, including fines of up to $5,000, loss of their license for five years and the publication of their image in the local newspaper.
Increasing penalties are a reason to defend against a first DUI charge
The fact that someone’s first DUI charge will result in lower penalties might lead some people to think that just pleading guilty is the best approach to a pending first DUI. Unfortunately, impaired driving is an offense with relatively high rates of recidivism, which means that you have a noteworthy statistical risk of facing arrest for the same issue again in the future.
If that were to happen, the penalties that you face will be worse than what you face now. Defending against an initial offense can protect you from escalating consequences in the future. Those facing 2nd or 3rd DUI charges will likely want to consider a defense because of the potential impact of those charges on their life.