Most people know that driving a car while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or inhalants can lead to DUI charges. However, in the state of Georgia, there are other charges which someone may face in addition to DUI charges, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Understanding the types of crimes one might be charged with is essential to avoid such charges. We review the most common DUI related charges below.
DUI While Driving a School Bus
If someone is driving a school bus while under the influence of alcohol, prescription, illegal, or over the counter drugs, or inhalants, they face additional penalties over and above the penalties normally imposed in DUI cases. The charge of Driving a School Bus while Under the Influence carries with it a term of at least one year in jail, and up to five years in prison. Additionally, a DUI while driving a school bus conviction will lead to a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $5,000.
DUI Under the Legal Drinking Age
The legal drinking age is 21 in Georgia. People who are caught drinking and driving when they are under the age of 21 face separate consequences. For adults over the age of 21, they must be either under the influence of an intoxicant or have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. However, when someone is under the age of 21, even a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 or more within three hours of being in physical control of a vehicle or driving a vehicle will result in a DUI charge.
For a first time DUI offense under the age of 21, drivers face fines of at least $400 and up to $1,000. They also face a minimum jail sentence of 10 days and up to 12 months in jail. Additionally, those convicted of an underage DUI must perform up to 40 hours of community service. Finally, they will be required to obtain a chemical use assessment and participate in a DUI alcohol and drug use program focusing on risk reduction.
A second underage DUI comes with increased penalties. These drivers face minimum fines of $600, however, the judge has the option of imposing a fine up to $1,000. Additionally, they face between 90 days to 365 days in jail. Community service, a chemical use assessment, and other requirements may otherwise be imposed.
Driving Under the Influence and Endangering a Child
When someone drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or drives with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, they can be charged with DUI. However, if there is a person under the age of 14 in the car at the time of the offense, the driver can be charged with endangering a child by driving under the influence. This is an additional charge which is separate from the DUI charge.
The first time someone is convicted of endangering a child by driving under the influence the charge is a misdemeanor. This offense can be punished by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A second time someone is convicted of endangering a child by driving under the influence they face more serious charges and more serious penalties. The minimum fine for a second offense is $1,000 and can be as high as $5,000. There is a requirement of not less than one year in jail. A third conviction for this offense is a felony. Upon conviction, this offense requires at least one year but not more than five years in prison. There is also a fine of $10,000.
Homicide by Vehicle
If someone drives while intoxicated or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more and causes the death of a human being, they can be charged with homicide by vehicle. Regardless of whether the deceased is someone who willingly got in the driver's car, was a passenger or driver in another car, or was a pedestrian, the driver can be charged. This offense is a felony, even if the death of the person was an accident. Georgia puts the penalty for homicide by vehicle at a minimum of three years in prison. This penalty can be increased to up to 15 years, depending on other facts and circumstances.
Feticide by Vehicle
Causing the death of an unborn child while driving while intoxicated or while having a BAC of 0.08 or more is considered as serious as homicide by vehicle. It is also punished by a minimum of three years in prison and can be punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Serious Injury by Vehicle
Causing bodily harm to another person can result in criminal charges. As with homicide by vehicle, it doesn't matter if the injured person is a passenger in the intoxicated person's vehicle, a passenger in another vehicle, another driver, or a pedestrian. If a person suffers serious injury, the driver can be charged. “Serious injury” can be any of the following.
- Serious disfigurement
- Rendering a body part useless
- Organic brain damage which results in a body part or organ becoming useless
Like Feticide by Vehicle and Homicide by Vehicle, the maximum penalty for this offense is 15 years. However, the minimum term of imprisonment is set at one year.
Facing DUI Related Charges?
If you are charged with a DUI, or if you are facing DUI related charges, contact our Gainesville DUI attorneys. We concentrate our practice on representing people charged with DUI and DUI related cases. Our extensive experience in this area of the law allows us to represent our clients with excellent results. We answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Why wait? Call us today at 404.816.4440.