Is a DUI a Felony in GA? A Guide for Immigrants
Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.
Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: February 23, 2022.
Is a DUI a felony in GA? Find out here from a trusted immigration lawyer at Manji Law, PC.
Book a Consultation
We look forward to speaking with you. The first consultation fee is applied to the cost of your legal services.
Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.
Is a DUI a Felony in GA?
In Georgia, a DUI conviction is generally classified as a misdemeanor. Still, if you have been charged with a fourth offense or successive conviction within ten years, mainly measured by dates of arrest, you will likely be charged with a DUI Georgia felony offense.
This could have serious repercussions on various aspects of your life, especially if you are an immigrant. You should contact a local criminal immigration lawyer immediately if you are worried about how your immigration status may be impacted by a DUI conviction.
When Is a DUI a Felony in the State of Georgia?
A felony DUI case in Georgia is subjected to imprisonment of nothing less than one year in jail but not more than five years in jail.
Immigrants in Georgia might face additional consequences if charged with a DUI. Apart from losing their immigration benefits, the offense will stain their criminal record, and their fingerprints and photograph will be stored.
Any immigrant convicted with a DUI who already has a criminal history might even face deportation. If an immigrant is caught drunk driving with an underage passenger, any of their immigration benefits might be revoked.
If you face a DUI conviction, whether as a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or another category of immigrant, you will need legal support by your side in the form of a proper DUI lawyer. At Manji Law, P.C., we deal with all aspects of immigration law, including deportation & removal defense and the impact of DUI or driving without a license convictions on a person’s immigration prospects.
Any DUI conviction can affect your life in the long run. However, with a professional DUI lawyer by your side, you might get your charges dropped or dismissed. Immigrants especially need legal support to avoid serious issues such as deportation or losing their benefits. Contact us at 678-902-2999 right away if you face a DUI conviction in Georgia, and let us fight for your rights!
Types of Felony DUI in GA
- Hit-and-run: As the name suggests, it is a situation of running away from an accident scene after causing serious bodily injury to a third party.
- Any attempt to evade a law enforcement officer after they have signaled you as the driver to pull over
- Reckless driving: This can be viewed in different forms; driving under the influence, an aggravated misdemeanor, or a possible DUI child endangerment scenario.
- When the driver ignored a traffic control device, such as a stop sign, yield sign, a red light, a reduced speed limit sign, or a railroad sign
In addition, when a DUI felony case can’t outrightly be pursued against a driver or a jury finds the accused driver of not being guilty of that DUI felony, the accusation may also claim severe injury or death, using a reckless driving predicate misdemeanor offenses as another basis for a felony conviction.
If the leading cause was reckless driving, then the maximum prison time is 15 years depending on the injury or death caused other than the habitual offender, who faces 20 years per injury/death.
This type of DUI is considered a felony in most cases because it is assumed that if another person dies in an accident, you are the at-fault driver. On some occasions, the injured victim may not pass away immediately, and the officer won’t initially make this felony DUI charge. A new warrant for the felony will be given when death occurs. This emphasizes a new bond being set by the superior court.
Most of the time, drunk driving arrests with serious injury of others are overlooked in GA. Often, non-fatal accidents occur, and if the police officer checks on the driving while intoxicated, an arrest does not check up on the rest of the passengers to see the degree of injuries on other motorists and passengers.
This can only be charged as a misdemeanor. In many cases, when the assigned prosecutor receives these files and reviews injuries, they will learn of broken bones, scars, burns, or organic brain damage that can then lead to the misdemeanor drunk driving case being transferred to a felony prosecutor in Superior Court, for filing under OCGA 40-6-394 for a “serious injury by vehicle” felony.
Factors That Make a DUI a Felony in Georgia
A range of factors, including driving with a minor in the vehicle, may influence whether a DUI is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Aside from being a school bus driver or being involved in a serious injury by a vehicle or a vehicular homicide, is it a numbers game to get a drunk driving felony in GA? Here are some instances of determining if endangering a child by driving impaired is a DUI misdemeanor or a felony in Georgia.
Suppose a driver with no DUI convictions gets arrested for DUI with three children under 14 as passengers in the motor vehicle. If convicted of DUI, three child endangerment charges add on three more DUIs leading the driver to be accused of first offense DUI, a second offense DUI, a 3rd DUI, and a 4th DUI (felony). One incident DUI can lead to four separate and specific crimes under Georgia DUI law.
As another example, suppose a driver with three past DUI convictions in Georgia with two children in the car of ages five and seven was stopped for suspected drunk driving. The driver would have three DUI felonies and one more for each endangered child if convicted. All the license loss periods would be stacked end to end.
Keep in mind that these are just examples. Each case varies, so it’s crucial to work with a team of trusted DUI attorneys to understand how the law may apply to your case.
Georgia DUI Penalties
The maximum consequence for your first DUI conviction is a fine of up to $1,000, 1 year in jail, or even both. The minimum consequences are a $300 fine and 24 hours in jail. Forty hours of community service, twelve-month probation, and a DUI alcohol or drug abuse course are other possible consequences.
The penalties are further escalated if your second DUI is within ten years. The minimum number of hours in jail is 72 with a fine of $600, 240 hours of community service, 12 months of probation, DUI school enrollment, and substance abuse evaluation.
The third and subsequent DUI is a misdemeanor of an escalated nature within ten years. The minimum charges are 15 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, 240 hours of community service, DUI school, 12-month probation, substance abuse evaluation, and anything else the judge orders.
The maximum sentence for a third DUI within ten years in Georgia is 12 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Learn More About Georgia DUI Laws
Many people are surprised when they learn that the police take you to jail on a DUI Georgia 1st offense despite the circumstance. The same rule as the Georgia DUI method applies in most states.
It is also interesting to note that field sobriety tests are optional, and no one has to agree to take them. However, if you face a DUI conviction, know that our key objective is to apply our proven knowledge of the DUI laws in Georgia to help you navigate the troubled waters of a DUI arrest.
Top-Rated DUI Criminal Defense Attorney in Georgia
Whether you have felony DUI charges, are accused of a misdemeanor offense, or have a prior drugged driving conviction that is hindering your immigration journey in the U.S., you will need a skilled and professional law office to fight for your case. Our experienced Atlanta DUI lawyers, well versed in the Georgia legislature, can help you out if charged with or convicted of a DUI.
Call upon the legal services of Manji Law, P.C. at 678-902-2999 today, and let us fight for your rights! A DUI in Georgia can have long-lasting negative effects, but with the proper legal advice and representation on your side, things can take a different turn.
Atlanta Immigration Resources
- Atlanta Deportation Lawyer
- Atlanta Immigration Court
- Complete Guide to I-485
- Folkston ICE Processing Center
- Georgia Immigration
- Guide to I-765
- How Long Does it Take to Bring a Spouse to the USA?
- Immigration Attorney Atlanta
- Irwin County Detention Center
- Stewart Detention Center
- The Hidden Impact of ICE Deportation
Georgia Immigration Law Explained
Georgia Immigration Law is much the same as immigration law throughout the USA. However, there are also regulations specific to Georgia like E-Verify regulations and rules for state/city law enforcement, and there are local sites and agencies to be aware of.
Your Guide to the Atlanta Immigration Court
Navigating the Atlanta GA Court can be very difficult as there are many agencies involved and lots of moving parts. This page will walk you through the basics of what to expect if you’ve been detained or received a notice to appear in this court in Atlanta, Georgia.
Complete Guide to I-485
The process, which begins with form I-485, can be complicated. This page will guide you through the basics of an Adjustment Of Status and let you know what to expect.
#1 Guide on I-765
When coming to the USA, finding a job is probably one of the first things you’ll want to do. However, before you can begin working in the U.S. you should obtain a work permit. Read on to find out how you can use Form I-765 to apply for the right to work in the United States.