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DUI: Arrests for other crimes

Question: I'm worried that my prior criminal record will affect my DUI. This is my first DUI charge but over the years I've had arrests for marijuana possession, domestic violence and not having a driver's license. I know my record isn't the best, but those other arrests took place many years ago and I feel like I'm a different person. Since then I went into the Army, graduated from college and went to medical school.

But now I got a DUI charge. I shouldn't have been driving but I did. It was after a long day at the hospital and I was tired but I stopped off for an early dinner and had a couple of margaritas. They were pretty strong and I caught a buzz. I think they reacted with my medicine for depression and anxiety.

When I was driving home I was speeding and I got pulled over by a cop. I took the breath test on the side of the road and I took it at the jail. I blew a .146.

I want to know how my prior record will affect my DUI charge and what could happen.

K.Y. in Cherokee County, GA

Answer: The good news is that it's a first-ever DUI. The bad news is that a prosecutor can base his recommendation for a sentence on your prior history.

Of course, a prosecutor will be influenced by what he sees in a criminal history. It certainly helps the cause if a defendant has never been arrested before. That allows the DUI lawyer to make a pitch to the prosecutor that the incident was simply an aberration, a one-time error that should be seen in the context of a larger, law-abiding picture. The prosecutor should be asked to use discretion and minimize the matter.

A Cherokee County DUI lawyer for someone with your criminal record (that is a non-DUI criminal record), would want to argue that the other arrests happened long ago, were not related to alcohol and in the intervening years you did positive things like serve in the United States Armed Forces and go to medical school.

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