What Factors Can Enhance Or Aggravate A DUI Charge In Georgia?
The first and most important factor that may aggravate a DUI is the number of DUIs you’ve had in your lifetime. Your fourth DUI will likely be a felony. That’s going to make the punishment much harsher. Another factor that will aggravate the charge is if you have a minor in your vehicle. Then, you’re going to get a second charge for child endangerment. That child endangerment charge, because it’s based on a DUI, is an account for sentencing purposes as a second DUI.
If you have more than one minor in your car, then on your very first DUI you could be charged with a felony. You could potentially could be facing five DUIs charges the very first time you’ve ever been accused of DUI. That is a highly aggravating factor. Other factors that could aggravate is the amount of alcohol in your system. If you are twice the legal limit, it potentially could have a serious impact on what happens with your case and how the prosecutors treat you. If there’s an accident and that’s the reason why you got stopped for the DUI, it will impact your sentencing. If there’s an injury during that accident, you could be looking at significant jail time or prison time.
Are There Any Alternative Punishments Or Diversion Programs Available For DUI Offenders In Georgia?
Unfortunately, there are no official diversion programs available. Sometimes, inpatient treatment in situations where someone truly has an alcohol problem or a drug problem can have a major impact on their case. The judge may be willing to accept that as the punishment for the case. Community service is always going to be a help in resolving a case. Also, you may qualify for the DUI Court program, which is actually more intensive than an inpatient program would be. It’s a very costly program, costing $75 per week for a minimum of 14 months and there will still be jail time. It doesn’t keep you from having the conviction, but it can reduce the jail time significantly.
Are The Majority Of DUI Cases Always Settled With Plea Deals?
A lot of cases are settled through plea agreements. Oftentimes, we are able to get an outcome that limits our risk in regards to a conviction for DUI or we are able to get charges reduced down to a reckless driving or some other lesser included offense. The court is not supposed to punish you for going to trial. However, the court can reward you for taking responsibility for your actions. You can sometimes get a lesser sentence because of that. Other times, there just is not enough evidence for the state to move forward with charges and in those situations I’m very hesitant to advise people to plead guilty, because we can win at trial. Ultimately, it’s the client’s decision whether or not to take a plea agreement.