A Georgia man faces numerous charges, including driving under the influence and vehicular homicide, after crashing his truck on a bridge last month. The truck began to hydroplane, crashing into the median and then flipping. One of the passengers was ejected and killed, and another sustained minor injuries. While the driver currently faces misdemeanor DUI charges, those could become more serious under certain circumstances.
What Constitutes DUI?
In the state of Georgia, driving a vehicle while under the influence of any drug or alcohol that makes it less safe to drive than if the driver were sober can earn you a DUI charge. It is important to note that this does not require any specific concentration of the drug or alcohol in your system, only that it makes driving less safe than normal. However, Georgia does still include an automatic DUI for those with a blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration of .08 grams or more while driving or even up to three hours after driving. The limit for commercial drivers is lowered to .04% alcohol content by weight in blood, breath, or urine.
Possessing a prescription for the drugs that hinder your ability to drive will not get you out of a DUI charge, either. Regardless of the legality of the drug, anything that causes you to drive dangerously will still be charged as driving under the influence. A DUI issued for drug usage is handled and punished in essentially the same manner as an alcohol DUI.
The first two incidents of DUI charges are treated as misdemeanors, while the third is escalated to an aggravated misdemeanor. Georgia code dictates that, if convicted of driving under the influence for a fourth time within 10 years, the driver will be charged with a felony. If convicted, the driver could face $5,000 in fines in addition to court costs and up to five years in jail. In addition, felony DUI brings with it:
480 hours of community service
Five years of probation
If the felony DUI conviction includes three DUIs within the last five years, the driver will also pay $25 to publish the conviction and a photograph in the newspaper of the county where convicted. The driver also must surrender the license plates for every vehicle registered in his/her name.
Often, driving under the influence is accompanied by other charges, including racing, leaving the scene of an accident, child endangerment, or even vehicular homicide. If charged with three such offenses, even if they are all related to the same incident, the driver will be classified as a habitual violator, resulting in a five-year revocation of his/her driver’s license. Being a habitual violator can also turn some misdemeanors, such as driving with a suspended or revoked license, into felonies.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has been charged with a felony DUI, do not face the charges alone. There are alternative sentencing options which may allow you to get back on track. The attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law can help you understand your legal rights and ensure they are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.