When Is a DUI a Felony?

Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense that can be prosecuted in many different ways. While standard first-time DUIs are typically misdemeanor offenses, they can be prosecuted as felonies when aggravating circumstances are involved. When felony charges do arise, they subject convicted offenders to harsher penalties and to consequences that can create enduring limitations, repercussions, and barriers. While all cases are unique and entail different circumstances, the following situations and offenses often result in felony allegations:

Multiple Offense
In Georgia, a driver can be charged with a felony DUI when they are convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI offense within 10 years of a previous DUI conviction. This fourth-time felony DUI law was passed in 2008 in response to statewide efforts to intensify penalties for habitual offenders. Additionally, individuals convicted of a DUI with child endangerment at any point in their lifetime will also face felony allegations if they are charged with DUI child endangerment a third time. Anyone who has been convicted of any type of felony DUI will also face felony allegations for new DUI charges.

DUI Causing Serious Injury
DUIs resulting in accidents that seriously injure others can also subject alleged offenders to felony charges. As causing harm to others is considered a reckless, egregious act of carelessness, Georgia laws have made the point to prosecute offenders with heightened charges and penalties.

DUI Causing Death
DUIs causing death are the most serious driving under the influence charges one can face. Known as DUI manslaughter, this felony offense will be prosecuted when a driver causes death while driving their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI manslaughter is punishable by prison terms between 3 and 15 years.

If you or someone that you care about is facing a felony DUI allegation, please be aware that there is a great deal riding on your case. In addition to hefty fines and potentially lengthy terms of imprisonment, felony convictions are also viewed distastefully by society at large, including potential employers, landlords, and others who conduct background checks.

By understanding the penalties at stake in your case, you should feel the necessary urgency to work with a proven DUI attorney who has the experience, the resources, and the capability to fight effectively on your behalf. To learn more about felony DUI charges and how the Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub can help, bring your case to the attention of a seasoned Atlanta DUI lawyer today.