DUIs are alcohol-related charges, so it may not be a wise idea for someone facing DUI charges to show up to court drunk. That is allegedly what a Georgia man did in April. James Earl Johnson had been previously charged and convicted for a DUI in Fulton County, Georgia.  When Johnson showed up at his sentencing hearing, the judge handed down a sentence of 60 days in jail due to the fact that Johnson had failed to pay court-ordered fines related to his DUI conviction. Once the judge finished the sentencing, Johnson did something that caught court officers by surprise – he fled the courtroom.

According to police reports, Johnson immediately fled the court and hopped into his truck. He then led police on a harrowing chase around local roads.  After police finally stopped Johnson at an office park, Johnson allegedly proceeded to fight with officers.  Police claim that Johnson actually drove at an officer with the intent of harming the officer, leading to a charge of aggravated assault on a police officer. Eventually, police had to use a Taser to subdue Johnson during the struggle. Currently, Johnson faces charges of reckless driving, fleeing and attempting to elude, obstruction and driving with a suspended license.

In addition to the charges related to his courtroom escape and subsequent chase, Johnson faces yet another DUI charge.  When he showed up in court, police allege that Johnson was intoxicated.  As soon as he got behind the wheel of his truck, Johnson committed the alcohol-related offense.  If convicted of this new DUI charge, Johnson could face heightened penalties due to repeat DUI offender laws.  For his previous DUI conviction, Johnson had already been sentenced to probation and fines, and then to the jail time for a failure to pay the fines. Georgia DUI laws allow for stricter penalties for drivers convicted of two DUIs.  Under that law, Johnson potentially face a 3-year license suspension, more fines, alcohol treatment and program enrollment, additional jail time, and community service, among other penalties.

Many states have different levels of penalties for multiple DUI or DWI convictions. Each state has DWI and/or DUI charges related to the level of impairment or intoxication a driver has, generally measured by the driver’s blood alcohol content, or BAC.  In addition to these basic DUI/DWI charges, many states also have repeat offender laws intended to prevent offenders from committing additional DUIs/DWIs.  These laws allow for stricter penalties upon conviction, and the penalties can dramatically increase for each additional conviction.  For example, a first time offender may not be sentenced to jail time, but a second time offender can be.  That same offender can receive more jail time for a third conviction.

Because of the potential for increased penalties upon conviction, it is important for any driver facing DUI or DWI charges to hire an experienced attorney in their area. If you are a New York driver facing a DWI or related charge, you can count on the experienced DWI lawyers at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys.  Contact Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.  Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.  Attorney Advertising.