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Understanding when a DUI becomes a felony in Georgia

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | DUI

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. However, you might not realize that while a DUI charge is typically a misdemeanor, specific circumstances can transform it into a more severe felony charge.

This escalation carries heftier penalties and long-lasting impacts on your life. Knowing when a DUI becomes a felony in Georgia is an important aspect of understanding the consequences of unsafe driving behaviors.

Repeating DUI offenses

In Georgia, if you get convicted of DUI three times within five years, the charges for the fourth offense will increase to a felony. Georgia law treats repeated DUI offenses seriously, aiming to deter recurrent violations.

Causing serious injury or death

If your DUI results in an accident that causes serious injury or death to another person, the state of Georgia classifies this as a felony. Serious injury includes causing bodily harm like disfigurement, loss of a limb or significant brain damage.

Having a minor in the vehicle

Driving under the influence with a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle can lead to a felony charge in Georgia. The state considers this act as child endangerment and treats it as a separate charge from the DUI itself.

Driving with a suspended license

If you drive under the influence while you have a suspended, revoked or canceled license, you can face felony charges. Georgia law considers this a serious violation as it demonstrates a disregard for the law.

Awareness of the circumstances under which a DUI becomes a felony in Georgia can help you realize the serious nature of DUI offenses and the importance of safe, responsible driving. Your choices can have significant consequences, not just for you, but for others on the road as well.