If you are driving home after having a few drinks with dinner, you may feel okay to drive, but are really over the legal limit. Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher can lead to a DUI arrest, with possible jail time, license suspension, and thousands in costs and fines. But if you happen to get into a car accident with a DUI, then you may face felony charges.
Serious Injury by Vehicle in Georgia
When a driver is under the influence and involved in an accident, they may be charged with serious injury by vehicle if another person was seriously injured, or homicide by vehicle if another person was killed. These are both felony charges, and may make it harder to find a job, pursue certain professions, and can even limit your right to vote. If you or someone you love is charged with serious injury by vehicle and DUI, you should talk to an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer to understand the possible consequences of pleading guilty.
The law defines “serious injury by vehicle” as causing “bodily harm to another by depriving him of a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless” through reckless driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. See O.C.G.A. 40-6-394.
A conviction for serious injury by vehicle is punishable by imprisonment for not less than one year, up to a maximum 15 years. In addition, your license can be suspended for three years, and you may be denied a limited driving permit to go to work, school, or even doctors appointments. This is in addition to any civil penalties that could be assessed for damages to the injured person and their property.
“Bodily harm to another” does not just include other drivers or their passengers. If any person is injured through reckless or drunk driving, then the driver may be charged. This includes pedestrians and even people in your own car.
If someone loses an arm or a leg after a car accident, that would surely seem like a serious injury. However, less major injuries can still be considered to be “serious injuries” under the law. In previous cases, injuries like a broken nose and a scar on the forehead were enough to be serious injuries.
Prosecutors have to show that the driver was guilty of a DUI before they can be convicted for serious injury by vehicle. That means that if you are found not guilty of driving under the influence, you can't be charged with a DUI serious injury by vehicle. This is why you need to talk to an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney, who understands how to fight a DUI charge.
Atlanta Lawyer for DUI Serious Injury by Vehicle
After the accident and DUI arrest, it may seem like everything is stacked against you, and you have no choice but to plead guilty. But remember you still have a chance to put the whole thing behind you, and keep a clean record. There are always possible defenses that could be used to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. Each case is different, so you should speak with an experienced, local Atlanta DUI lawyer to hear your options. Call me today, and I will stand up for your rights in court.