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How Does a Criminal History Affect My DUI Charge?

Question: I got charged with DUI in Georgia. I was in North Fulton County. It's my first DUI charge. However I have been in trouble before. I was arrested for pot possession about 7 years ago and I was arrested for assault about 12 years ago. Are the marijuana charges and the fighting really going to hurt me with the DUI?

Answer: Prosecutors never like to see prior criminal activity. So it's always better if one has a "clean" record. But the pot charge and the assault charge should not have a substantial impact on the DUI charge. I'm assuming both occurred in Georgia and both were charged as misdemeanors and that you are not on probation now for either charge. Basically, since this is your first DUI, it should be treated as such and not "enhanced" by the prior criminal charges. Of course, in Georgia if you have multiple DUIs each charge will carry with it greater punishment –more jail, more community service, a greater fine, etc. Since North Fulton County is comprised of a number of cities—Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton-- and each has their own municipal court and prosecutor the prior charges will be viewed by each individual solicitor in a slightly different way. Some may see them as totally unrelated and some may see them as other bad conduct that warrants treating the DUI more harshly in some way.

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