What Are Enhanced DUI Penalties in Georgia?
Georgia treats any DUI conviction seriously, with serious penalties involved. Even a person who is barely above the legal limit of 0.08 percent by blood alcohol concentration (BAC), will end up with a criminal record. A first time DUI is treated as a misdemeanor, and can include jail time of up to 1 year subject to minimum sentences, fines and fees of as much as $1,000, 20 or more hours of required community service, successful completion of DUI school, including a clinical evaluation, with the possibility of a required treatment program for alcohol or drug abuse. In addition, a driver will lose their license for up to a year, and be placed on probation. Altogether, these penalties can have some serious impact on a person's life.
For a driver convicted of a second, third or fourth DUI, the penalties continue to increase. A fourth DUI within 10 years is even treated as a felony, resulting in a felony record for a driver convicted of a felony DUI. However, even a first time DUI may be subject to additional penalties, depending on the circumstances of the individual case.
Aggravating Factors for Georgia DUIs
In their aim to deter drivers from driving under the influence, state law provides for additional and stiffer penalties when aggravating factors are involved. This usually includes cases where people were harmed by the DUI, or the DUI could have involved more vulnerable victims like children.
If a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they are involved in an accident, and they caused another person to be seriously injured or killed, they could be charged with causing a serious injury by vehicle. Whether it involved another driver, a pedestrian, or even your own passenger, serious injury can result in additional penalties. This is more serious than the simple charge of driving under the influence. If the accident didn't involve a DUI, it may have been charged as a simple traffic offense, but because alcohol was involved, the crime can be charged as a felony, and include up to 15 years in prison. In addition to any criminal charges, a driver may face civil charges, and can be sued for money damages as a result of the accident.
Speeding while arrested for a DUI, driving the wrong way down the highway, or getting a DUI in a school zone may also result in additional penalties. One of the most serious enhanced penalty situations involves a DUI where children were present in the car. This can actually result in multiple DUI charges for a single DUI arrest. Georgia law has carved out a special place for DUI charges where children are passengers. This is known as a child endangerment DUI. A conviction for child endangerment DUI can include additional jail time, additional fines, and the possibility of a felony criminal record for repeat offenses.
Lawyer in Atlanta Defending Enhanced DUIs
If you or a loved one were arrested for an Atlanta DUI with aggravating factors, you don't have to face this difficult time alone. Remember that the law says that you are innocent until proven guilty. You deserve to be treated fairly, and not like a criminal. I have successfully defended people charged with DUIs and other related charges, and have focused my practice on Atlanta DUI defense. Call me anytime, day or night, so we can get to work on your case, and have the charges against you dismissed, dropped, or reduced.