A DUI is always a serious charge, however, some DUI charges can be more serious than others. A person who is charged with a felony DUI can face significant penalties if he or she is convicted including a lengthy prison sentence and a significant fine as well as other consequences. In addition, a felony conviction on an individual's record can have an impact on future employment prospects, housing, and the ability to vote, among other things.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony DUI in Hall County, it is important to take this charge seriously. Please do not hesitate to contact Hall County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today to discuss your case.
Felony DUI Charges
There are a number of different DUI offenses that are considered to be felonies rather than misdemeanors. These include, but are not limited to, a fourth DUI in 10 years, DUI Child Endangerment, and DUI with Serious Bodily Injury. The penalties for these offenses vary and are discussed in more detail below.
- Fourth DUI In 10 Years: The first two times an individual gets a DUI in Georgia, it is generally charged as a misdemeanor offense. O.G.C.A. § 40-6-391(c). A third DUI is still considered a misdemeanor, however, depending on the facts of the case, this offense may be charged as a high and aggravated misdemeanor. A fourth DUI in ten year period is considered a felony offense. It is important to note that the convictions that are considered only include those dating back to July 1, 2008. The penalties for a fourth DUI conviction are much more serious than for a misdemeanor. The fine that may be impose can range from $1,000 and $5,000 may be imposed on a person convicted of this offense. O.G.C.A. § 40-6-391(c)(4)(A). In addition, the individual may be sentenced to prison for between one year and five years. However, the judge in the case does have the option to "suspend, stay, or probate all but 90 days of any term of imprisonment." Additionally, credit can be given for time served in jail after an individual was arrested. Other penalties that may be imposed include license suspension, community service, completing a DUI program, a clinical evaluation, and probation.
- Child Endangerment: If a driver is arrested for DUI while there are children under the age of 14 in the vehicle, that driver can be charged with the offense of DUI Child Endangerment. O.G.C.A. § 40-6-391(l). This is a separate offense from driving under the influence, thus if an individual is charged with this offense, he or she may be facing two DUI charges - DUI and DUI Child Endangerment. It is important to be aware that there can be a separate charge for each individual child who is in the car. For example, if there are three children in the car, this means that the driver can face three different Child Endangerment charges. Thus, an individual can end up facing numerous DUI charges after only one offense and some of these offenses may charged as felonies. A misdemeanor Child Endangerment conviction can result in an individual being fined up to $1,000 or being sentenced to jail for up to one year. O.G.C.A. § 16-12-1(d)(1). An individual charged with felony Child Endangerment may be fined between $1,000 and $5,000 and sentenced to prison for between one and three years. O.G.C.A. § 16-12-1(d)(2).
- DUI With Serious Injury By Vehicle: If an intoxicated driver causes an accident that results in another individual suffering some kind of serious bodily injury, this offense may be charged a felony. Georgia law states:
Whoever, without malice, shall cause bodily harm to another by depriving him of a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless through the violation of Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391 shall be guilty of the crime of serious injury by vehicle. O.G.C.A. § 40-6-394.
There are a number of things that can be considered a serious bodily injury. Previously injuries such as broken bones, scarring, severe bruising, and loss of vision in one eye have all been considered serious injuries. As with Child Endangerment, each person who is injured is counted as separate DUI With Serious Bodily Injury charge. The penalty for this offense is between one and fifteen years behind bars. For more information, contact your Hall County DUI Lawyer today.
Administrative Penalty - License Suspension
Along with criminal penalties, an individual who is convicted of a felony DUI can face a longer period of license suspension. The amount of time during which a person will lose his or license depends on what offense the individual was convicted of. Moreover, certain convictions result in an individual being ineligible for a temporary permit. For example, a person convicted of Serious Injury By Vehicle can lose his or her license for up to three years and will not be not eligible for a temporary permit. O.G.C.A. § 40-5-63(d)(1)O.G.C.A. § 40-5-63(d)(1).
Contact An Attorney
A felony conviction may result in significant consequences such as prison sentence, a fine, and a lengthy license suspension. If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony DUI in Hall County, contact an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney today. Richard Lawson has been practicing law in Georgia for over two decades. His practice is devoted exclusively to DUI defense and he is dedicated to providing his clients with excellent legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of Richard Lawson at (404) 816-4440 or contact us online.