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How Is An Aggravated DUI Charge Defined In Georgia?

While there is not an actual “aggravated DUI” charge in Georgia, there are two ways in which a DUI can be much more serious than your run of the mill misdemeanor. The first type is a felony DUI based on the number of prior DUIs. So, if you get four DUIs within a 10-year period, the first three would be misdemeanors and fourth would be a felony offense. The other type of DUI is something that the courts treat as aggravated, and occurs when a DUI-related crash involves serious injury or death. In that case, the DUI acts as a predicate offense to allow a charge of vehicular homicide in the first degree if someone dies in the crash, or a charge of serious injury by vehicle if someone sustains some sort of serious injury. Both of those are felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

What Happens If There Is An Accident And Police Suspect Drugs Or Alcohol Is Involved?

Typically, it’s the same as a regular DUI investigation where they stop somebody for some sort of traffic violation. If the driver is physically able to submit to the field sobriety evaluations, the police will request those. They’ll request a breath or a blood test from the defendant, interview witnesses, take pictures, and do their general investigation. If there’s been a crash and the driver who is suspected of being under the influence is actually injured in that crash, then they will usually skip the field sobriety evaluations. I recently learned in a continuing education course that police are starting to use the field sobriety evaluations that they use for boating under the influence (BUI) investigations for car crashes. That’s because those can typically be done from a sitting position; they don’t require walking or balancing or anything like that. Instead, they involve exercises of mental coordination. Very few officers are trained on how to properly do these exercises, but there is a state-wide, coordinated push to get more officers trained.

What Evidence Do The Police Look For In A Drunk Driving Accident?

There are usually four types of evidence that police look for when they come to a DUI crash. First, the police are looking for physical evidence of drinking. They want to see if there are open or unopened cans or bottles of alcohol in the car. They are looking to see if there is vomit inside or outside the car. They are looking to see if the person has a stamp or a band on their wrist from a club. Second, the police also look for testimony or evidence of drinking, an admission by the driver, or statements by witnesses. Third, as in all DUI investigations, the police usually look for field sobriety evidence by having the driver perform standardized field sobriety tests. Finally, they look at whether or not the driver has slurred speech, watery or bloodshot eyes, trouble standing or trouble following instructions.

Will The Police Administer The Sobriety Tests At The Scene Of A Drunk Driving Accident?

If the driver is physically able to perform them, the police will usually request field sobriety tests. If the driver is injured, they may use the tests that are designated for boating under the influence cases, or they may just skip that altogether depending on how serious the injury is. In a typical DUI case, the officer is required to place the driver under arrest before he’s allowed to ask for a breath or a blood sample. However, if there is serious injury or a death involved, then the officer is not required to place the driver under arrest. Instead, the officer can request breath or blood from the medical personnel that are on the scene treating.

Are Blood Tests Automatically Administered If The Driver Is Unconscious?

In Georgia, the officer has the discretion to determine whether they will request a blood, breath or urine test. If they can see that the defendant or the driver is physically unable to give a breath test, then they can choose another method. If the driver cannot physically give a breath sample, the officer can re-read the implied consent and ask for blood. They also have the option to get a search warrant for blood. Georgia law is clear that if the person is unconscious, the police cannot get blood unless they have a search warrant signed by a judge.

For more information on Aggravated DUI Charges In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (678) 999-3418 today.

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