Question: I got arrested in Atlanta for DUI. I'm a bartender and I know a lot of people. I was talking with a regular at our Midtown Atlanta club and I think I have a legal defense or at least something that will help me. The regular and I got to talking. I told him that I got a DUI. He said that in New York, where he's from, he had a DUI. I told him I also got a DUI in New York. It was something else we had in common.
I know that more than 1 DUI can cause problems here in Georgia. Then we both realized that in New York it's not a DUI, it's called a DWI. That could be a huge difference, we thought. We're not lawyers and I only have a high school degree and my friend dropped out of school in 10th grade to do construction, but we think that could be a big difference.
Since New York calls it a DWI and Georgia calls it a DUI, will that mean the prosecution will just treat it like my first DUI (which, technically, it is)? Is this a huge technicality?
Answer:Different states use different terms in their legislation to describe driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Some common acronyms are DUI, DWI, OWI, OMVI, & DUII; and there are still others. In Georgia (and elsewhere) prosecutors look for other DUI charges. Generally, the more DUI charges an individual has, the greater the potential punishments.
If a prosecutor finds that you have another impaired driving charge, they will likely use that to enhance punishments. That another state uses a different acronym than DUI will matter little. We would be interested to know how old the prior DWI is. If it is within, say, 5 years it will have greater weight than a DWI from 15 years ago.
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