The state of Georgia has already implemented a number of severe penalties for individuals who drive under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. Consequences for a standard first time DUI can be severe and can include fines up to $1,000, a number of collateral expenses, up to one year imprisonment, community service, mandatory drug or alcohol treatment, and driver's license suspensions. When aggravating circumstances are involved, however, the penalties can intensify considerably. A few examples of the aggravating circumstances that can result in heightened charges and penalties in Georgia include:
- Multiple DUI convictions
- DUIs involving hit and run accidents
- DUIs that cause injury or death
- DUIs involving a minor passenger
Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), motorists who cause serious injury while driving under the influence will be prosecuted with a specific criminal offense. This charge is officially known as serious injury by vehicle, according to § 40-6-294 of the O.G.C.A. As defined by Georgia law, an individual is guilty of serious injury by vehicle if they are driving under the influence and cause bodily harm to another by:
- Depriving another of a member of their body;
- Rendering a member of another's body useless, including causing paralysis;
- Causing serious disfigurement; or
- Causing organic brain damage.
Simply put, accidents that result in serious, or catastrophic, injuries will often be grounds for this elevated charge. Injuries also do not need to be permanent in order for prosecutors to charge a driver with this offense. A felony offense, serious injury by vehicle is punishable by a minimum of one year imprisonment and a maximum of 15 years, depending on the circumstances. Certain factors may intensify penalties and increase terms of imprisonment, including high blood alcohol content (BAC) levels and prior DUI convictions.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a DUI accident that resulted in a serious injury, please be aware that severe penalties are on the line. As such, it is of the utmost importance that you take swift action to work with a seasoned Atlanta DUI lawyer who has the skills and resources to protect your freedom and future. Our firm is prepared to respond immediately to local residents in need and to represent clients during all aspects of their case, including criminal proceedings and Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearings.
To discuss your case with an Atlanta DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, call (404) 892-2000 or (404) 907-1536 for a consultation.