When an individual is charged with their fourth offense DUI within 10 years, the charge can be elevated to a felony. If it is not within 10 years, the offense is not considered a felony. The penalties associated with such a charge are often severe and require the assistance of an attorney.
If you are facing such a charge, it is pertinent that you consult with an experienced Atlanta felony DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable DUI attorney in Atlanta can help reduce or dismiss any of the potential consequences of a DUI charge.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor DUI
A felony DUI is charged in superior court versus state court. The penalties could involve state prison time along with the felony on the person’s record. The penalties are quite severe. To defend against such penalties, an individual should consult with an Atlanta DUI felony lawyer immediately.
Felony DUI charges are not necessarily more difficult to defend, but the penalties are greater. The charge is the same. The difference is that the state is obligated to prove the number of DUI offenses the person had in the past and the dates of conviction. That is the only difference between a misdemeanor and a felony DUI is that the offender may have a lengthy criminal record.
The only positive thing is that superior courts do not handle DUIs. They do not see it as serious as many state or municipal courts do because they do not see them all the time. More jail time is at issue in Superior courts, so the person could be sentenced to not less than one year and not more than five years for a fourth DUI conviction within 10 years.
For a felony or fourth or subsequent conviction within a 10-year period, the penalties are a fine of not less than a $1,000 and not more than $5,000, a period of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than five years.
The judge may sustain or suspend to a probate all but 90 days of any term of incarceration and not fewer than 60 days of community service. However, if the person is sentenced to serve three years of imprisonment, the judge may suspend the community service.
Other penalties are the completion of an alcohol or DUI school within 120 days following conviction, a clinical evaluation, follow-up treatment as necessary, and a probation of five years less any days during which the person is actually imprisoned. An individual can help defend against such penalties with the assistance of an Atlanta felony DUI attorney.
An Atlanta felony DUI attorney handles felony DUI charges in the same way as misdemeanor charges. The difference is that the person has a prior record that must be addressed.
Therefore, the first thing the felony DUI lawyer in Atlanta does is verify that all prior offenses are actually convictions. Otherwise a lawyer defends the case in the same way as any other DUI case.
Benefits of a Felony DUI Lawyer
A locally experienced felony DUI lawyer in Atlanta will know how to effectively try the case. The lawyer has relationships in the courts, experience dealing with the prosecution, and is familiar with how to win these cases.