Can a DUI be a felony in Georgia?

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DUIs are some of the most commonly charged crimes out there. Being pulled over is usually the only time a person interacts with a police officer. Being pulled over on suspicion of a DUI usually leads to questions about what to do and say. Should you take a field sobriety test? What about a breathalyzer? We’ve written about DUI topics in the past. We’ve addressed questions about what to do if you’re pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, when and if you have to consent to a search, and why your right to remain silent is so important.

However, we have not covered when a DUI becomes a felony. In this article, we’ll go over some basics of what a felony DUI offense looks like and the severity of the consequences. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor DUI, Felony DUI, or any criminal charge in Atlanta or Georgia, contact us today. Everyone deserves a free trial and we’re here to defend your rights. Contact us today to set up a consultation

Georgia’s DUI Laws

In Georgia, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher bars a person from operating a vehicle. If a person is under 21 and they’re found to have a BAC above .02% then they can also be charged with an underage DUI. Commercial vehicle drivers have a BAC limit of .04%. Driving under these levels of alcohol can result in misdemeanor charges for a first, second, or third offense within 10 years of the first. However, this doesn’t mean that a felony charge for a DUI crime is not possible. 

Historically, felony DUIs were not ‘on the books’ in many states. In other words, until relatively recently there were fewer chances to get a felony charge for a DUI-related incident. Georgia updated its criminal code to include this charge. In 2008 they added that a 4th DUI conviction within 10 years from the 1st would be considered a felony. If a person is convicted of this offense they face the possibility of up to 5 years in jail, $5,000 in fines, a drug or alcohol treatment program, and a 5-year license suspension. Community service, probation, and a clinical evaluation are also possible. 

There are other ways that felony charges can be tacked on to a DUI charge. If a person is labeled a habitual violator, due to multiple DUIs, then driving on a suspended or revoked license will result in a felony charge with a fine of $750 and a possible prison sentence of 5 years. 

If while operating a motor vehicle you cause the death of another person and you are a habitual offender then you will be charged with first-degree vehicular homicide. That comes with a possible maximum charge of 20 years. 

Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorneys

At The Arora Law Firm, we know how complicated and ever-changing the Georgia DUI laws are. If you’ve been charged with DUI, you should hire a defense attorney who puts your rights and your future first. Call us at (404) 609-4664 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We proudly assist Spanish-speaking clients. (Se habla Español.)


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