Driving under the influence is typically a misdemeanor in Georgia. However, there are certain circumstances under which police can charge you with a felony. Any criminal conviction can affect your life significantly but having a felony on your record can have even more serious consequences. Fines are higher, license suspensions are longer, and you serve time in prison rather than jail.
If you a court convicts you of a felony, you will spend at least a year in prison. You forfeit the right to vote or hold public office and you may find it extremely difficult to get a job. If you’re facing a DUI charge, contact an attorney for advice about your case. In the meantime, it may be helpful to understand when a felony DUI charge is likely. If you want to avoid all these, follow the law and do not drive while under the influence.
What Constitutes a DUI in Georgia?
It is illegal for any driver to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. However, drivers operating commercial vehicles can be charged with a DUI if their BAC is 0.04 percent or above. Drivers under 21 should have a BAC under 0.02 percent if they want to stay within the law. DUI penalties include license suspension or revocation, fines, jail time, and DUI school. The penalties increase depending on how many DUI convictions a driver has on their record.
What Georgia DUI Attorneys Have to Say About a Common Felony DUI Charge
There are quite a few situations which can lead to a felony DUI charge. For example, a fourth DUI within ten years will be treated as a felony. In a best-case scenario, you’ll be sentenced to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, the maximum penalty is five years in jail and a $5,000 fine along with court fees. Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to two years.
If you receive probation, you may only have to serve 90 days in jail. You may also get credit for any time you served in jail immediately after your arrest. The judge can suspend half of the fine provided that you undergo a court-approved drug or alcohol treatment program. You will also have to perform 480 hours of community service.
If your fourth DUI is also your third or more within five years, there’s an additional penalty. It is quite embarrassing but it has to be done. You will need to pay $25 to have a notice of your conviction and your photo published in the newspaper in your county.
Other Types of Felony DUI Charges an Attorney in Athens, GA Encounters
Even if you haven’t been convicted of four DUIs, there’s another way your driving history can come back to haunt you. If you were driving on a probationary license and you violated a DUI law, you will also be guilty of a felony DUI charge.
If police arrested you for DUI while you were carrying a child under age 14, they can charge you with child endangerment. A third or subsequent such conviction is a felony. Furthermore, if you are transporting three children under the age of 14, it will count as three separate offenses. Upon conviction, you will be guilty of a felony DUI charge.
Drivers who cause significant injuries or death can also face serious charges. Causing serious bodily harm to another person while driving under the influence can lead to a felony charge. It is called serious injury by vehicle. In Georgia, this is punishable by imprisonment for one to 15 years. If you are found guilty of this offense, your license will be suspended for at least three years. There is no chance of early reinstatement and you won’t get a limited use driving permit. First-degree vehicular homicide is also a felony offense.
Contact Athens DUI Lawyers Today for Assistance With a Felony DUI Charge
If you have a felony DUI charge, contact an attorney immediately. While the penalties on conviction are severe, a DUI lawyer in Georgia can help you. They may be able to build a defense on your behalf or help to get your sentence reduced. The state takes DUI offenses very seriously, so you don’t want to try to handle your case alone. Where a felony DUI charge is concerned, your professional and social standing will be at stake. Hand your case over Athens DUI Lawyer and let us take care of things for you.