Early Saturday morning, an Atlanta law enforcement officer was hit by a driver while attempting to direct the vehicle into a parking lot. Shortly after 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, the officer witnessed a silver Volkswagen hitting a parked truck. After approaching the vehicle, the officer asked the driver if he had hit the vehicle. The man behind the wheel denied any wrongdoing, but as the officer stepped in front the Volkswagen to direct it into a nearby parking lot, the driver sped off, striking the officer with the hood of his car and knocking him to the ground.
A radio alert was made shortly after the incident and a Georgia State Patrol officer later pulled the vehicle over at Briarcliff Rd. and Johnson Rd. The driver of the Volkswagen was taken into custody and transported to Fulton County Jail. He was charged with driving under the influence (DUI), Aggravated Assault, and obstruction. The officer who was hit was examined by Grady emergency personnel and suffered only minor soreness.
While a prime example of good luck for the law enforcement officer who could have been seriously injured during the incident, this case also illustrates just how quickly DUI charges can escalate when aggravating circumstances are involved. First, any DUI conviction will subject a person to harsh criminal penalties, including possible terms of imprisonment and large fines. These penalties may also be heightened when an individual has prior DUI convictions on their record. Aside from this fact, there are a number of situations that can result in heightened or multiple charges in relation to the underlying DUI.
As was the case in this incident, the driver of the Volkswagen was involved in an accident that hurt another person. Fortunately for the officer, these injuries were minor. Still, being involved in an accident and causing injury to another is grounds for heightened charges. When an alleged drunk driver causes substantial bodily harm to another, for instance, they can be charged with vehicular assault – a Class B felony punishable by up to $20,000 in fines, up to 10 years in prison, or both. In this particular case, the man was charged with aggravated assault because the victim was a peace office. As such, he faces a minimum of five years imprisonment with a maximum sentence of 20 years.
When aggravating circumstances and additional charges are involved in one DUI incident, the stakes are elevated. At the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, our Atlanta DUI attorneys know full well that in these serious cases, our clients' lives and futures may very well be on the line. By providing our experienced representation, step by step guidance through the legal process, and our unyielding commitment, we stand tall on behalf of our clients and fight aggressively to protect them against harsh penalties. If you or someone you care about faces heightened DUI allegations, do not hesitate to contact our firm today.