While still a very serious crime in Georgia, DUIs are often classed as misdemeanor offenses. However, under certain circumstances, a DUI may be considered a felony, which carries a range of life-altering penalties.
If you are in an accident while driving drunk, you may be faced with a felony if you caused the accident and it resulted in injury or death. This is not always true if you are involved in an accident that you did not cause that also results in injury. For instance, if you are drunk and another driver crashes into you and causes harm to your passengers or other drivers, you will most likely not be charged with a felony. However, you will be charged with a misdemeanor DUI despite the role you played in the crash.
Many states have laws in place that allow multiple drunk driving offenses to be assessed as felony charges. In Georgia, a fourth or subsequent conviction within a ten-year period from the date of arrest is sentenced as a felony. Multiple offenses during the same arrest, such as the presence of drugs or illegal weapons in the vehicle, make a felony charge far more likely. In certain circumstances, driving under the influence with children in the car can give rise to a felony charge of child endangerment.
No matter the details of your case, being charged with a felony requires the assistance of a skilled attorney to ensure you receive the proper defense. Most importantly, remember that driving drunk is always dumb and dangerous. Do not do it —be safe and smart.