What penalties could I face if I injure someone while intoxicated?
Nationally, 29 people die in motor vehicle accidents involving an intoxicated driver each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many more passengers and other drivers are injured by drunk drivers. Though none of us would set out to injure another person, the reality is that drunk driving accidents are common and often this type of accident will involve injuries to others. Anyone who has been arrested for driving while intoxicated and injuring another in Georgia could face serious penalties. Our Georgia DUI lawyers explain the charge of serious injury by vehicle and how you might defend against it below.
Fines for a First DUI
For a standard first time DUI, a defendant in Georgia could face fines of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, suspension of your driver’s license, mandatory alcohol treatment, community service, and more. These penalties can potentially have a serious impact on your life and livelihood. A convicted DUI defendant may find themselves torn from their families and their job to fulfill jail time or community service.
While penalties for the average, non-aggravated DUI are severe enough, penalties can become far more serious should an aggravating circumstance exist. Potential aggravating circumstances include multiple DUI convictions, hit and run DUIs, DUIs with children, and DUIs that can death or injuries.
The Charge of Serious Injury by Vehicle
In Georgia, the crime of serious injury by vehicle is set out in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 40-6-294. Drivers who are intoxicated and cause serious injury or death will be prosecuted under this offense, which carries with it severe penalties. Per Georgia law, you can be convicted of the crime of serious injury by vehicle if you are found to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and you cause bodily harm to another by: causing severe disfigurement, depriving another person of their body, causing brain damage, or rendering another’s body useless, including inflicting paralysis.
The crime of serious injury by vehicle is a felony offense that can be punished by a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of 15 years, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. The judge may look to your level of intoxication and the existence of prior DUI convictions in determining your punishment.
Anyone who has been charged with a DUI that caused injuries to others will need to contact a DUI defense lawyer right away. Your lawyer will review the factors surrounding the arrest and accident to determine what elements of the crime can be challenged, which might include the level of injuries to the other passengers or driver, the evidence of intoxication, other causes of the crash, and more.