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When does a DUI become a felony in Georgia?

If a Georgia police officer stopped you and either determined that you were driving under the influence via a field sobriety test or ascertains you were driving under the influence via a breath or chemical test, you may wonder what type of charges you face. Do you face misdemeanor charges or does driving under the influence warrant felony charges? If this is your first, second or third DUI offense, the charges will fall into the misdemeanor category. However, if it is your fourth offense in 10 years, the state may charge you with a felony.

According to FindLaw, a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction with a 10-year time period is a felony offense. A felony DUI carries with it a fine of not more than $5,000 but not less than $1,000. The judge cannot waive the fine regardless of the amount he or she settles on.

In addition to imposing a hefty fine, a judge will also order jail time for a fourth time offender. The judge may use his or her discretion in determining how much jail time an offense warrants, but the law dictates the offender must serve no less than one year of jail time and no more than five years. However, a judge may stay, suspend or probate all but 90 days of any term of imprisonment.

If the court convicts you of your fourth DUI in less than 10 years, it will also order you to complete no less than 60 days of community service. However, if the judge orders you to serve three years of actual imprisonment, he or she may waive your community service obligation.

You will also have to complete a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Rik Reduction Program within 120 days following your conviction. However, if you must serve more than 120 days in jail, you have up to 90 days following your release to complete the program.

Finally, the judge will impose upon you a five-year probation period. The probation period includes all days you served in jail.

The content shared here is for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. 

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