Is DUI a Felony in Georgia? 2024

Is DUI a Felony

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is one of the most commonly prosecuted criminal offenses throughout the United States. Although each state enforces strict laws against intoxicated driving, many people continue to commit this offense. In fact, a DUI could be a felony in Georgia, depending on the circumstances. Regardless, it is also possible for drivers to be unjustly and unfairly prosecuted for DUI offenses they did not commit.

If you have been arrested for DUI in the McDonough area or anywhere else in the state, it is natural to wonder whether you could face a misdemeanor or felony charge. Georgia law assigns strict penalties to most DUI offenses, and any DUI on your record could cause many problems for years to come. A DUI lawyer in McDonough, GA, is your most valuable asset in this situation, and they can advise you as to what you can expect from your unique case.

Misdemeanor Versus Felony DUI

Georgia commonly prosecutes DUI offenses as misdemeanors as long as a defendant did not cause severe property damage, bodily injury, or death with their intoxicated driving. However, if an individual is convicted of multiple DUI offenses within 10 years, the third offense is automatically prosecuted as a felony.

It is also possible for a defendant to face a felony DUI charge if they caused an accident while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Their auto insurance would go toward paying the damages inflicted on another party, and they could face a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim if they seriously hurt or killed someone. Ultimately, a felony DUI can carry very serious penalties for the defendant, some of which may not be immediately apparent.

At the misdemeanor level, a DUI driver faces fines, driver’s license suspension, and incarceration in county jail. At the felony level, their fines are larger, and their suspension period is longer, and if they must spend time behind bars, they will go to state prison. Additionally, the driver will face increased insurance premiums, leading to far more expensive auto insurance and other penalties assigned at the discretion of the judge handling their case.

Find Legal Counsel You Can Trust

One of the most important things you can do when charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI is to contact a criminal defense attorney you can trust to represent you in your court proceedings. An experienced defense attorney can help determine whether your arrest was lawful, whether the police respected your civil and constitutional rights, and whether the prosecution has handled the case correctly.

A good attorney can potentially mean the difference between case dismissal and conviction. They can help identify all your potential defenses. If you were wrongfully arrested for a DUI you did not commit, they can help prove the truth of the situation, and if you did break the law, they may be able to help you secure lighter penalties and/or reduced charges.

No defense attorney can ever promise a specific outcome to any given client, but the team at Miller North & Brill can ensure you have a responsive legal advocate readily available to address your concerns and answer your questions through all phases of your DUI case in McDonough.

FAQs About DUI Felony Status in Georgia

How Is DUI Proven?

Georgia law considers any operation of a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or more to be a DUI. The BAC limit is only .04% for commercial vehicle drivers and .02% for drivers under the age of 21. Driving with any detectable amount of marijuana or other controlled substance in your system can also lead to a DUI charge. Chemical testing of breath, urine, or blood may be used to confirm an arrested driver’s intoxication status.

When Does a DUI Count as a Felony?

Most DUI offenses will be misdemeanors when they do not result in property damage, bodily injury, or death. However, if a driver is convicted of a third DUI within 10 years, they are automatically charged with felony DUI. It is also possible for a DUI to constitute a felony if the defendant caused an accident resulting in severe bodily injury or death.

What Are the Penalties for DUI?

Penalties for DUI in Georgia include jail time, driver’s license suspension, fines, and more. Every DUI conviction will lead to a minimum of 24 hours in jail. The defendant’s jail time may be increased at the discretion of the sentencing judge.

A misdemeanor DUI could lead to up to one year in jail, with a 24-hour minimum for a first offense, a 72-hour minimum for a second offense, and a 15-day minimum for a third offense. The defendant will also face fines and court fees along with additional penalties based on the unique details of their offense.

How Much Are Fines for a DUI Offense?

Fines for a first or second DUI can reach up to $1,000, and fines for a third offense increase to $5,000. Driver’s license suspension also increases with subsequent offenses and may last for one year for the first offense, up to three years for a second offense, and up to five years for a third offense.

Do I Need to Hire a Defense Attorney for a DUI Case?

You have the right to legal counsel when you are accused of any crime. Taking full advantage of this right can potentially mean the difference between case dismissal and conviction, so it is vital to recognize the value of having legal counsel you can trust for your impending DUI case. Your defense attorney may identify defenses you did not realize were available to you and may potentially help reduce your penalties if convicted.

The attorneys at Miller North & Brill have the criminal defense experience you want on your side when you have been charged with DUI. You must exercise your right to legal representation as soon as possible, and the sooner you contact a defense attorney, the more time they have to build an effective defense for you. Contact Miller North & Brill today to set up your free consultation with a criminal defense attorney and learn how we can help with your case.

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