Most of the time charges for DUI in Georgia are classified as misdemeanor offenses, but in certain circumstances, DUI can be charged as a felony offense. Any type of criminal charge can follow you for the rest of your life. Moreover, having any type of criminal record can affect many different areas of a person's life.
However, a felony conviction, though, carries much more severe consequences than a misdemeanor conviction. Felonies are punishable by a year or more of prison time. After conviction, felons may also lose the right to vote, hold public office, the ability to own and possess firearms. Felony convictions also affect a person's ability to gain employment.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will outline what constitutes a Felony DUI in Georgia so as to clear up any confusion on when the offense is classified as a misdemeanor and when it is classified as a felony.
Felony DUI in Georgia
According to our state's laws, a Fourth Georgia DUI or subsequent DUI within a 10 year period is a felony offense in Georgia. The maximum penalty for this felony DUI is five years in prison and a $5,0000 fine plus court surcharges. The mandatory minimum is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Moreover, if your fourth DUI in Georgia is also your third or subsequent DUI within a 5 year period, then you will also be subject to a $25.00 fee to publish a notice of your conviction and your photograph in your county newspaper. You will also be required to surrender the license plates to any vehicle registered in your name.
It is also worth mentioning that a person is facing further consequences if convicted of a third or subsequent DUI within a 5 year period or any combination of:
- Fleeing or attempting to elude in Georgia
- Leaving the scene of an accident in Georgia
- Vehicular homicide in Georgia
- Serious Injury by Vehicle in Georgia, etc.
If convicted of any combination of these three offenses within a 5 year time period, a driver will be classified and declared as a habitual violator in Georgia.
By law, habitual violator is technically a status and not a criminal offense in and of itself. There are a handful of penalties that accompany a habitual violator status. For example, a habitual violator will have his or her license revoked for a 5 year period. After 2 years, you can apply for a probationary license to use for the remaining 3 year revocation period that may have restrictions as to the places, routes, and times you are allowed to travel. If you violate the terms of your probationary license, it will be revoked and you cannot reapply for a regular driver's license until the original 5 year revocation period has ended or for 2 years – whichever period is greater. Furthermore, a habitual violator revocation does not age off your record, but will remain in effect until you pay a reinstatement fee and provide proof of completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Course (DUI School).
A lawyer at our offices can help you by working through the details of your case and determining which Georgia DUI Defenses apply. Call now.