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Is a DUI a Criminal Offense in Georgia?

By: Atlanta Attorney William C. Head

Every DUI in Georgia is a criminal offense. Plus, no statute authorizes diversion, deferral, or expunction of a DUI in GA. Our DUI law firm approaches every pending drunk driving case as an opportunity to achieve a DUI dismissal or a reduction of charges to a non-DUI disposition.

Two states have non-criminal DUI-DWI-OWI laws, and call their offenses “quasi-criminal” offenses. However, the impact on your criminal record and long-term consequences all turn out to be the same as states that make DUI a criminal offense.

Can a DUI Be a Felony in GA?

DUI jail arrest, DUI lawyer, criminal charges DUI criminal charges, Georgia DUI arrest

All Georgia DUI attorneys know that police assigned to vehicular homicide Georgia cases are well-trained. When a death or serious bodily injury in a traffic offense occurs, the law enforcement officer should not merely issue a traffic ticket to the driver suspected of being impaired. If an implied consent refusal has taken place, securing a judicial search warrant for blood is routine, and expected.

Police officers handling a fatality or a serious bodily injury case are trained to ask “investigatory” questions like these:

  • When was your last drink?
  • What medications do you take?
  • When did you last smoke weed?

All law enforcement officer questions are designed to INCRIMINATE you. The answers that you give will provide sufficient evidence to support an arrest for DUI. This does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as is mandated at trial for a criminal offense. Once you talk, your likelihood of going to jail increases for a DUI fatality or serious injury by a vehicle accident, for DUI-alcohol or DUI-drugs.

If the detained driver refuses to be tested by a breath alcohol test, he or she will likely be subjected to a forcible DUI blood test, pursuant to a search warrant. Georgia DUI laws have authorized a DUI officer being able to seek a warrant since 2006.

GA DUI Implied Consent, BAC, DUI blood test

Is Your First DUI a Felony in Georgia?

The previous sections have educated you to know the rare, but possible, scenarios for felony DUI indictment. A driver involved in an accident causing serious physical injury to another, or any death, should remain silent and NOT TALK. The driver should only give his or her NAME and ADDRESS.

Until an arrest is made, anything the person says is not “protected” under the Constitution. In the quest to uphold DUI death convictions, most state appellate courts have found a way to uphold a felony DUI conviction involving serious injury or death.

Remember that Miranda rights are generally not required until you are arrested and cuffed when it comes to police questioning at an accident scene. Remaining silent is the best universal advice from a DUI defense lawyer. If police collect your blood using a warrant, this search warrant may NOT be legal if it was not based on probable cause to suspect driving while intoxicated.

Is getting a DUI a felony? Not in most drunk driving cases, as is covered above. Absent a car accident with injuries or death to another person (in your vehicle, another vehicle or as a pedestrian), the answer to “is your first DUI a felony?” is NO. It is still a criminal offense that requires expert legal representation from a DUI lawyer in Atlanta to achieve the best possible outcome.

Hire a GA Expert DUI Attorney for Misdemeanor DUI or Felony DUI

Drunk driving book author William C. “Bubba” Head, DUI lawyer in Atlanta, is a 41-year veteran Atlanta criminal defense attorney and Board-Certified drunk driving defense expert attorney. He and his criminal justice attorney partners, Larry Kohn and Cory Yager, operate a DUI law firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bubba Head, or one of his other law partners, who are also lawyers in Atlanta, can assist you on a DUI first offense, a 2nd DUI in GA, or any other repeat DUI offense. Plus, no other Atlanta DUI lawyer has handled more vehicular homicide Georgia cases, or serious bodily injury GA cases.

So, when you or a loved one needs the most aggressive and tenacious DUI attorneys, contact the DUI law firm Atlanta office of Larry Kohn, Atlanta DUI lawyer Cory Yager, anf criminal defense attorney Atlanta William “Bubba” Head. Mr. Kohn and Mr. Yager were each invited to write chapters for national drunk driving defense books published for other DWI lawyers who are learning how to beat of a DUI. Their chapters were published in 2016. When you hire any of our DUI law firm partners, you have one of three Super Lawyers for 2017.

Learn more about DUI Penalties in general. Get a FREE Lawyer Consultation Today by Dialing 404-567-5515

If you need 24-hour lawyers, call our DUI law firm now for immediate help. (404) 567-5515. Our FREE professional criminal case assessment is worth your time and energy. If winning is your objective, call our Georgia drunk driving lawyers today.

Our Georgia DUI attorneys will review the DUI lawyer cost and the likelihood of getting your DUI reduced to reckless driving in GA.


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