DUI: What about prior criminal charges?

Question: I just got my first DUI. My wife and kids are pretty angry. I always tell people not to drive if you've been drinking. But I had a few beers, a big tequila shot and a mixed drink. I was driving home in my new convertible with the music playing loudly and I think the Sandy Springs police officer didn't like that. The cop pulled me over for speeding and said I was almost 40 miles per hour over the speed limit.

I refused most of the tests and took a blood test after the policeman got a warrant for my arrest. He didn't like me and called me some names. He put the handcuffs on so tight that my wrists began to hurt but he didn't care.

It's my first DUI but I'm worried about some of my prior criminal history form many years ago. I have convictions for drug trafficking, assault and mail fraud. I got in trouble years ago when I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. I did some state prison time and federal prison time. Since then I went to school, worked for the government and I now work for an Internet security company. Now I'm worried how my criminal record will impact my DUI.

Will my old criminal record have an effect on my DUI sentence? I don't want to do a lot of jail time.

W.M. in Sandy Springs, GA

Answer: Since they were not DUI convictions your DUI lawyer needs to minimize their impact on the Sandy Springs solicitor. If the solicitor notices your prior non-DUI convictions, your attorney must explain that they are from years ago and that you are no longer that same person. Now you are a responsible person working in the security sector and this DUI charge is very much out of character for you.

It's always better to have a clean record, of course, but your lawyer needs to stress to the prosecutor that old, non-DUI convictions should have no impact upon this DUI charge.

And enhanced punishments for DUI are statutorily mandated for subsequent DUI's, for example on a 2nd, 3rd or 4th DUI, which is a felony.

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