Athens is the sixth largest city in the beautiful state of Georgia. Law enforcement is always on the lookout for drunk drivers and those under the influence of drugs. If you are caught operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, you could face serious DUI charges.
If you have been charged with DUI, our Athens DUI lawyers are here to help. You need to know and understand the different DUI charges. This blog will look into some of the most common DUI charges and their penalties.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI)
Driving under the influence of alcohol is the most common type of DUI charge in Georgia. This charge is typically applied when a person is found operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The legal limit in Georgia is a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or lower.
Drivers found to be driving with a BAC of 0.08% or more can face serious penalties, including hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time. Additionally, drivers may be subject to further penalties if they have been previously convicted of DUI offenses.
For you to be convicted in Athens, there has to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the burden of proof is solely the prosecution’s responsibility. This means they must prove that you were operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
The prosecutor will present evidence such as field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, and blood tests to prove intoxication. The severity of the penalties imposed upon conviction will depend on the driver’s BAC, the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the defendant’s criminal history.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offense in Athens, Georgia, that carries stiff penalties for those convicted. It occurs when someone drives a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. A DWI offense can result in a license suspension, jail time, and other fines and penalties.
For those under 21 years old, the legal limit is .02% BAC. A conviction of DWI in Athens can carry even harsher penalties, such as a mandatory minimum jail sentence and fines. The penalties may include a driver’s license suspension, community service, a drug or alcohol treatment program, and mandatory attendance of an Alcohol Safety Education Program.
In addition to potential criminal penalties, those convicted of DWI may face long-term consequences that affect their future employment and educational opportunities. A conviction of DWI on one’s record can also lead to higher insurance premiums and even denial of certain rights and privileges.
The best way to avoid these penalties and consequences is to never drive while impaired. If you find yourself in a situation where you have been charged with DWI, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal options and protect your rights.
Aggravated DUI is one of the more serious DUI charges. This charge carries harsher penalties. This charge is often reserved for cases where alcohol or drugs played a key role in another person’s physical harm or property damage while the accused was driving under the influence.
The harm caused includes but is not limited to when a motorist is in an accident while intoxicated and destroys property. Or if they caused serious injury or death to another person as a result of impaired driving.
If you are charged with aggravated DUI in Athens, Georgia, it is important to seek the help of an experienced DUI attorney. A conviction for this type of DUI could lead to jail time, probation, fines, community service, the installation of an ignition interlock device, and the suspension or revocation of your license.
When charged with an Aggravated DUI, the conviction will remain on your criminal record for life. It can affect your ability to get a job, get education opportunities, and even get financial support from banks. It is critical to retain a knowledgeable attorney who understands the complexities of DUI law and can advocate on your behalf.
When operating a commercial vehicle, the laws for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are stricter than for operating a regular car. The state of Georgia has implemented a zero-tolerance policy for DUI charges when it comes to commercial vehicle operators. Any driver with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .04 percent or higher will be charged with a DUI.
Penalties for Commercial DUI in Athens, Georgia, can be much more severe than penalties for DUI with a regular car. Conviction of Commercial DUI can lead to fines up to $5,000 and/or up to ten years of jail time. The driver’s commercial license can also be revoked or suspended, which can seriously affect their ability to make a living.
It’s important to note that even if the driver is not transporting any goods when they are pulled over, they can still be charged with a Commercial DUI if they are driving a commercial vehicle. The law considers anyone operating a commercial vehicle to have professional status and thus should have stricter standards for operating such vehicles.
In Athens, Georgia, a DUI is considered a felony if the accused has more than two prior DUI convictions or if other felonies accompany the DUI charge. A felony DUI can have far more serious consequences than other DUI offenses, including substantial fines and jail time.
If a person has a third DUI within five years, they can face up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, they will have their license suspended for at least three years.
Furthermore, any DUI that results in serious injury or death can be considered a felony. This is known as Aggravated DUI and carries much harsher penalties than regular DUI offenses.
Contact Our Athens DUI Lawyers Today!
Drivers need to be aware of the potential consequences of driving under the influence and take every precaution to avoid being charged with a DUI. The best way to do this is to drive sober and plan transportation ahead of time if you know you may be drinking.
It is also important to be aware of Georgia laws regarding DUIs and understand the severity of the associated punishments. If you’re facing DUI charges, contact our DUI defense lawyers in Athens today.