One of the most serious driving offenses with devastating consequences is driving while under the influence. While there is no excuse or reason to get behind the wheel while you are intoxicated, time and time again, people do this.
Repeat DWI offenders are common, and more often than not, the severity of their intoxication worsens over time. If you have been charged with a DWI more than once, it is essential to understand the seriousness of the situation.
A repeat DWI offense is often viewed as much more serious than a first-time offense. As such, the penalties associated with it are typically harsher. Depending on the circumstances, a second or third DWI offense could result in fines, jail time, license suspension or revocation, and other penalties.
It’s important to note that even if you are convicted of a lesser offense, such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), a repeat DWI offense may still be considered a felony.
DWI vs. DUI: What is the Difference?
While it can be confusing to know the difference between DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DUI (driving under the influence), what you need to understand most of the time, they fall under the same caveat.
In Athens, both charges are prosecuted under the same Georgia Code. A DWI applies when you are found to be driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.
The DUI charge, on the other hand, applies when you are found to be driving a vehicle while your normal faculties are impaired due to the influence of drugs or alcohol, even if your BAC is below 0.08%.
To give you a better understanding, here is an example. If a driver has consumed several alcoholic beverages but has not reached the legal limit of 0.08%, they can still be charged with DUI if their normal faculties are impaired to the point where it affects their ability to drive safely. Even though both charges are filed under the same Georgia Code, the penalties for each vary depending on the severity of the offense.
The Consequences of Repeat DWI Offenses
The consequences can be severe if you are convicted of a repeat Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense in Athens, as it would be in other cities. Some of the consequences include but are not limited to, jail time, fines, and/or a driver’s license suspension or revocation, depending on the circumstances. The length of these penalties depends upon the offense’s severity and the number of prior convictions.
You will most likely face a minimum of 72 hours in jail for a second offense, a fine of up to $1,000, and a one-year suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. However, if there is evidence that your BAC level was more than twice the legal limit or that someone was injured as a result of your actions, the court may impose harsher penalties.
A third offense within five years carries the possibility of a felony conviction and increased fines, with the potential for up to five years in prison and/or up to $5,000 in fines. Additionally, your license may be suspended or revoked for up to three years. If you are found guilty of a fourth or subsequent offense within five years, you will face a felony conviction and potentially even more jail time and/or higher fines.
As you can see, it is important to understand the consequences of a repeat DWI offense and to take all necessary steps to avoid such an outcome. The best way to do this is by working with an experienced attorney who can help you understand the charges and protect your rights throughout the process.
Possible Defences for a Repeat DWI Offense
In some cases, a person charged with a repeat DWI offense may have a defense available to them. Some of the most common defenses in these cases include:
- You were not driving at the time of the alleged offense. If you can prove that you were not the one driving when the offense was committed, you may have a valid defense.
- The stop or arrest was unlawful. If the police officer did not have probable cause to stop or arrest you, then any evidence they obtained may be deemed inadmissible in court.
- The field sobriety tests were not properly administered. Field sobriety tests are used by law enforcement officers to determine if a driver is impaired. These tests must be administered properly to be considered valid evidence in court.
- The breathalyzer or blood test was inaccurate. Breathalyzers and blood tests are used to measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). If the machine or test is not properly calibrated or the results are inaccurate for any other reason, the results may be challenged in court.
- The chemical test results were taken too long after driving. Chemical tests must be taken within a certain amount of time after driving to be admissible as evidence in court. If too much time has elapsed since the driver was behind the wheel, the results may be invalid.
These are just some of the possible defenses that may be available to someone charged with a repeat DWI offense. It is important to remember that each case is unique and that an experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights and potential defenses.
What You Should Do After Getting Arrested for a Repeat DWI in Athens
The first human instinct is to run when you have been arrested for multiple repeat DWIs in Athens. But this will get you in more trouble than you already are in. So it is best to remain calm and contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
This is particularly important if you have already been convicted of a prior offense. An experienced lawyer can help you better understand the legal process and assist you in protecting your rights and freedoms.
The most important thing to remember when dealing with a repeat DWI offense is to understand the severity of the charges and the potential penalties that can result. A conviction for a second DWI offense carries increased fines, jail time, and potentially a suspended license. It is important to take these charges seriously and speak with an attorney about your case as soon as possible.
Your attorney can help explain the process and help you avoid making any unnecessary mistakes. They can also advise you on possible defenses for your case and help you craft the best legal strategy for your particular situation. Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to try and get you the best possible outcome for your case.
You should also be sure to contact the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) immediately after your arrest. The DDS will provide you with information on what steps to take next regarding any suspension or revocation of your license. Your lawyer can also help guide you through this process and advise you on the best approach to take.
In short, if you have been arrested for a repeat DWI offense in Athens, Georgia, you must remain calm and contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can help guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.