If you get caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you’ll typically face misdemeanor charges. However, the police can charge you with a felony DUI in Georgia under certain circumstances. While any criminal conviction can have a major impact on your life, a felony can have more extreme consequences. You’ll have to pay higher fines and you’ll serve your sentence in prison rather than jail. Your license suspension will also be longer.
Upon conviction of a felony, you will have to spend at least a year in prison. You give up the right to hold public office or vote and it will become very difficult to get a job. If you’re facing felony DUI charges, reach out to a skilled, experienced DUI lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia. Getting legal advice is essential in minimizing the effect the charges have on your life. Let’s take a look at when you could be charged with a felony.
When Can I Be Charged with a DUI in Georgia?
There are two ways in which you can be charged with DUI. The first is based on your blood alcohol concentration. It is illegal for anyone to drive with a BAC of .08 percent or more. However, commercial vehicle drivers have to adhere to an even lower limit. It’s illegal for them to operate a vehicle if their BAC is .04 percent or higher. Meanwhile, drivers under the age of 12 need to keep their BAC under .02 percent.
Police can also charge you with a DUI regardless of what your BAC if your driving is noticeably impaired. They just need to able to show that your driving was less safe because you used drugs and/or alcohol. This means that even if you refuse to take a chemical test, you can still face charges.
When is a DUI Considered a Felony in Georgia?
A range of situations can result in felony charges. For instance, if you get four DUIs in ten years, the fourth is a felony. Any subsequent DUI will also be a felony. At a minimum, you’ll spend a year in state prison and pay a $1,000 fine. If you get the maximum penalty, you’ll have to spend five years in prison. You’ll also have to pay a $5,000 fine along with court fees. Your driver’s license can be suspended for a maximum of two years. There is the possibility of probation for a felony DUI, but you may still have to spend 90 days in prison. Hiring a competent DUI lawyer in Atlanta to work on your behalf can make a big difference in your punishment.
Even if you aren’t guilty of that many DUIs, your driving record could still affect you. Let’s say you were using a provisional license following a previous DUI conviction. If you commit a serious driving offense within five years of that conviction, the police will charge you with a felony.
Also, if you were arrested while transporting a child under the age of 14, the police can charge you with child endangerment. Your third or subsequent such DUI conviction will count as felony offense. However, Georgia is quite strict in this regard. If you were traveling with three children younger than 14, this will count as three separate offenses. You will be charged with a felony stemming from this one incident.
Felony charges can also follow alcohol-related accidents that result in serious injuries or death. If you cause serious bodily harm to someone else while driving under the influence, the state will impose harsh penalties. Serious injury by vehicle is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years. If convicted, you would lose your license for at least three years. You won’t be able to get a restricted use permit or apply for early reinstatement of your license.
Get in Touch with Howard & Arca DUI Lawyers Today for Assistance
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, don’t delay in contacting an Atlanta DUI attorney. A felony DUI in Georgia can result in harsh penalties, but you shouldn’t give up hope. A competent attorney may be able to build a solid defense or get your sentence reduced. You should never attempt to handle a DUI case on your own. If you get convicted of a felony, your life will change considerably. You’ll lose civil rights, freedom, professional and social standing, and more. Call Howard & Arc DUI Lawyers and let us review your case. We’ll analyze the charges against you and give you our expert opinion. Schedule your first consultation today.