Most people who face charges of driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia face a misdemeanor charge. However, for some who meet certain circumstances, they may be charged with a felony DUI. A felony DUI carries serious penalties that can affect your life for years to come.
If you have been charged with a felony DUI in the State of Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia DUI attorney to protect your rights.
When is a DUI a Felony in Georgia?
If certain circumstances are met in connection with your charge of DUI, you may be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a Georgia felony, you will spend any sentence of incarceration in state prison rather than a local jail.
Some common circumstances that could take your DUI charge from a misdemeanor to a felony include:
- Causing bodily injury to another
- Causing the wrongful death of another person
- Attempting to evade the police
- Speeding excessively while under the influence
- Transporting a minor under 14 while intoxicated (a charge of DUI child endangerment)
- Having a fourth DUI or more within a 10-year period.
Fourth DUI or More
As listed above, if you have been convicted of your fourth or more DUI within a 10-year period, your new DUI charge will be a felony. Only convictions that occur on or after July 1, 2008 will be considered under this part of the law.
If you are convicted of a fourth DUI within 10 years, the maximum penalty is:
- 5 years in jail
- $5,000.00 fine
- Court charges.
The minimum penalty for a fourth DUI is:
- Minimum of one year jail sentence -- all but 90 days may be suspended
- $1,000.00 fine
- Court charges.
You will be required to surrender the license plates on any vehicle registered in your name. This will prevent both you and anyone else who regularly use one of those cars from being able to operate the vehicle.
The Lesser Known Consequences
There are consequences of a felony conviction beyond those already discussed that you may not have considered, and can be just as serious. Felony convictions can affect you for the rest of your life.
When you are looking for employment, you will now be required to check "Yes" anytime a form asks if you have been convicted of a felony. Many employers are unwilling to hire former felons, even those convicted of a DUI. In fact, many employers will simply ignore your application if they see your answer to the felony question.
Felons are also subject to restrictions on their right to carry a firearm and their right to vote. You are required to apply for reinstatement of these privileges in many cases.
Contact a Georgia DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with a felony DUI in the State of Georgia, it does not mean that you are guilty. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can challenge your case to have your charges reduced to a misdemeanor, or possibly have your entire case dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation.