If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you may be worried that your offense is a felony.
In general, most DUI convictions in Georgia are misdemeanors, putting them on par with moving violations, such as running a red light or causing a minor car crash.
However, there are certain situations where your criminal conviction will be upgraded to a felony. These situations are discussed below.
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact our Savannah criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation.
THIS IS YOUR FOURTH DUI CONVICTION
If this is your fourth DUI conviction since July 1, 2008, it is a felony, according to Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) § 40-6-391.
The penalties for a felony DUI conviction are much harsher than a misdemeanor conviction, including:
- Fine between $1,000 and $5,000
- Imprisonment for one to five years
- At least 60 days of community service, which may be suspended if the defendant is sentenced to three years of prison
- Probation for at least five years, minus time spent in prison
- Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program within 120 days of being convicted
- Clinical evaluation and completion of a substance abuse treatment program if it is recommended after the clinical evaluation
YOU CAUSED SEVERE INJURIES OR DEATH
Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-393 and § 40-6-394, anyone who causes death or severe injury through drunk driving will be charged with felony DUI.
A severe injury is one that causes any of the following medical issues:
- Depriving the victim of a part of his or her body
- Rendering his or her body useless
- Causing serious disfigurement of the body or body part
- Causing organic brain damage
If you are convicted of a DUI that caused someone to die, you will receive a three to 15-year prison sentence. If you cause someone to suffer a severe injury, you will be sentenced to between one and 15 years in prison.
WHAT IS A DUI IN GEORGIA?
Under Georgia law, you will be charged with a DUI if you are caught operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC):
- At or above 0.02 percent if you are under 21 years old, the legal drinking age
- At or above 0.08 percent if you over 21 years old
- At or above 0.04 percent if you are operating a commercial vehicle
PENALTIES FOR DUI CONVICTIONS
Even though a DUI is often a misdemeanor, it can come with stiff penalties. If it is your first conviction you are subject to:
- A fine between $300 and $1,000
- Ten days to 12 months in jail
- Probation for 12 months
- A minimum of 40 hours of community service
- Driver’s license suspension
Penalties for your second and third conviction become increasingly severe. For example, after your third conviction you could spend between 120 days and one year in jail and face a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.
The Savannah criminal defense lawyers at The Nye Law Group can represent you if you have been charged with DUI. We will work to ensure you are treated fairly throughout the legal process.
Contact us now by calling 855-856-4212 or completing a Free Case Evaluation form.