Most driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in Georgia are classified as misdemeanors; however, certain factors could result in a felony charge. A felony is a serious offense, which could result in prison time and the loss of certain rights; therefore, you should hire an experienced defense attorney if you have been charged with felony DUI.
What Constitutes A Felony DUI?
What makes a DUI a felony instead of a misdemeanor? If there were any extenuating circumstances in your case, such as transporting a minor while you were intoxicated or causing an accident that results in a fatality, personal injury, or property damage, you may be charged with a felony offense. Being convicted of four or more DUI convictions within 10 years could also result in a felony charge.
The most common reasons that a DUI in Georgia might be charged as a felony include:
- Fleeing the scene of an accident.
- Causing bodily injury or wrongful death to another person.
- Evading or attempting to evade police.
- Property damage.
- Four or more DUI convictions within 10 years.
- Transporting a minor while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Excessive speeding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The biggest difference between a misdemeanor and felony is where you spend time behind bars. Unlike a misdemeanor, which is punishable by less than a year in jail, you could be sentenced to one year or more in a state prison. If you caused any deaths or serious injury while under the influence, you may be sentenced to at least 15 years in prison–for each separate offense.
If addition to prison time, you could face a number of penalties if convicted of a felony DUI, such as fines, probation, substance abuse treatment, and community service. Your driving privileges will also be suspended (or permanently revoked) and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle in order to have your license reinstated.
Collateral Consequences Of A DUI Conviction
The consequences of a DUI felony conviction last long after your sentence has been served. As a convicted felon, you may be ineligible to work in schools or government agencies. In addition, your right to vote and own firearms can be taken away from you. Even something as simple as renting an apartment can be more difficult if you have to answer “yes” when asked if you have ever been convicted of a felony.
If you are currently facing felony DUI charges, Attorney Elmer H. (Pete) Young can help. As one of the top defense attorneys in Augusta, Mr. Young has helped more than 80 percent of his clients obtain a non-DUI disposition, meaning their charges were reduced, dismissed or acquitted.
For a free analysis of your DUI felony case, use our convenient Free Strategy Session form or contact our Augusta office today to schedule an appointment.