Aggravating Factors in a Georgia DUI Case
Driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense in Georgia. Those who are convicted face significant penalties, including potential jail time, expensive fines, and the loss of their driving privileges. These penalties, however, can escalate even more when certain aggravating factors are present. Read on to learn more about these factors and how they could affect the outcome of your own case.
Prior DUI Convictions
A first time DUI offender can expect to have his or her driver’s license suspended, be required to pay fines, and have to perform mandatory community service. Those with prior DUI convictions on their records, however, could face even more serious repercussions. For instance, someone convicted of a first-time DUI offense may be required to spend 24 hours in jail, while a third-time DUI offender must be sentenced to at least 120 days. Georgia has a look-back period of ten years, which means that any of a driver’s DUI convictions from the past decade will come into play for subsequent prosecutions. Multiple DUI convictions can also result in extended license suspensions and the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in a driver’s vehicle.
There is a zero-tolerance policy for underage DUIs in Georgia, where a driver who is under the age of 21 years old can be arrested for having any amount of alcohol in his or her system. Being convicted of an underage DUI comes with a mandatory license suspension, attendance in an alcohol education program, and probation.
DUI with a Child Passenger
Another factor that can lead to more severe, or aggravated DUI charges is having a child passenger in the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense. Under this law, any driver who is arrested for driving under the influence with a child who is under the age of 14 years old in the vehicle can be charged with DUI Child Endangerment. This offense is considered a separate charge from a simple DUI, which means that a single arrest can result in multiple DUI charges for a driver. First and second DUI child endangerment offenses are charged as misdemeanors that carry penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and a year in jail. Third-time offenders, on the other hand, could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
DUI with Injury or Death
One of the most serious aggravating factors for a DUI case is whether someone was injured as a result of the driver’s actions. DUI accidents that lead to injuries or fatalities can result in felony charges in Georgia, extensive prison sentences, and a lifetime driving ban.
An Experienced Smyrna DUI Defense Attorney
In Georgia, the penalties for a DUI conviction can be enhanced by a variety of aggravating factors. If you were arrested for driving under the influence and believe that your case involves one or more of these aggravating factors, you should reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and develop a strong defense. Please call 678-853-2500 to set up a free consultation with dedicated Smyrna DUI defense lawyer Andrew L. Schwartz, P.C. today.