Most people know that one may be cited for driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, glues, vapors and the like. The consequences for a DUI vary based, in part, on the number of prior times the driver has been charged with DUI. Obviously, the more prior offenses a driver has within the last ten years, the more severe the consequences for that driver. Consequences range from between 1 and 10 days in jail, with a minimum fine of $300 for a first time DUI, to a prison sentence of up to five years, and a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000.
However, there are some circumstances where a driver gets a DUI related charge. In these cases, there are other facts and circumstances that allow the government to charge additional crimes. Knowing about these additional circumstances, which can lead to additional consequences, is essential.
It is illegal for people under the age of 21 to drink. Consequently, they face far more restrictions when it comes to drinking and driving than their legal counterparts. The DUI statute in Georgia specifically states if the consumption of drugs or alcohol renders a driver less safe to drive, or if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, they can be charged with DUI. However, for those under the age of 21, all that is needed is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 or more within three hours of driving a car or being in physical control of the car to be charged with underage DUI. This means that even if the underage person is not feeling the effects of alcohol, they can be charged with a DUI well below the legal limit for adults.
First-time underage offenders will be assessed a fine between $400 and $1000, a minimum jail sentence of 10 days, and up to 12 months. A second time DUI offender is fined between $600 and $1000, and between 90 days to up to one year in jail.
DUI While Driving a School Bus
Every time someone drives while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is dangerous. However, when a school bus driver drives while under the influence, they endanger the lives of many children. Because of the potential for substantial injuries and lost lives, the penalties for driving a school bus while intoxicated are much more significant. School bus drivers face a term of at least one year in jail, and as much as five years in prison. Additionally, a school bus driver driving under the influence will also face a fine of up to $5,000, with a legal minimum fine of $1,000. Put another way, a person convicted of DUI while driving a school bus is punished as severely as a person committing their fourth DUI in regular circumstances, within the past ten years.
Endangering a Child DUI
Any time someone is driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or inhalants, and they have a passenger in the car aged 14 years or less, they are guilty of a separate crime of endangering a child. This offense is charged in addition to the DUI charges the driver faces. This crime is punishable by up to a year in jail, and a fine of up to $1000. For a second offense to this crime, there is a mandatory minimum fine of at least $1,000 and can go as high as $5000. Upon conviction of a second offense, the defendant will be ordered to spend a minimum of one year in jail. A third conviction for endangering a child by driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or inhalants is a felony crime. The punishment is at least one year in jail and up to five years in jail. This crime also includes a fine of $10,000.
Serious Injury by Vehicle DUI
“Serious injury” is defined by Georgia law as either a serious disfigurement, having a body part rendered useless, or organic brain damage which results in either an organ or another body part useless. When someone is driving under the influence and injures someone, they can be charged with this crime. The injured person may be a pedestrian, a person in someone else's car, or a person in the impaired person's car. In any event, causing injuries to another results in a minimum term of incarceration of one year, and can be punished by up to 15 years in prison.
Homicide by Vehicle
If someone is driving while under the influence, and their conduct results in someone else's death, they can be charged with homicide by vehicle. As with serious injury by vehicle, it doesn't matter if the person is walking on the street, a passenger or driver of another car, or a passenger in the car driven by the impaired person. If someone dies as a result of an impaired person's driving conduct, the driver can be charged. This crime requires a minimum of three years in prison, but, depending on the facts of the case, may result in even more serious punishment, up to 15 years.
Feticide by Vehicle
Where an unborn child is killed during a car crash, wherein the driver is impaired or has a BAC of 0.08 or more, they may be charged with feticide by vehicle. As with the other crimes discussed above, it doesn't matter if the pregnant woman is in the crosswalk, riding a bike, relaxing in the park, driving another car, or is a passenger, if her unborn child dies and it is the fault of the impaired driver, they can be charged. The punishment is a minimum of three years and up to 15 years in prison.
Are You Facing DUI Related Charges?
If you are facing DUI related charges, you need a DUI attorney who understands the laws regarding DUI cases. Contact our experienced Atlanta DUI lawyers at 404.816.4440 today.