One Athens woman may have avoided a felony DUI charge over the weekend, but just barely. The woman still faces several other serious charges for allegedly driving drunk with four children in her vehicle.
In Georgia, a first-offense drunk driving arrest will typically be charged as a misdemeanor. However, if a drunk driver is involved in a serious or fatal car accident, the individual could face felony charges, even if the individual has no prior DUI arrests on his or her record.
Around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, Athens-Clarke police reported that they had witnessed a vehicle that had crossed into the opposite lane of traffic on Prince Avenue. According to police, the vehicle just missed hitting an oncoming car near Meigs Street, which could have resulted in a serious head-on collision.
After witnessing the incident, police reported that they made a traffic stop to question the woman who was driving the vehicle that had veered into the lane of oncoming traffic.
When police stopped the vehicle, they reported that four children were passengers in the car. Police also noticed that none of the children were wearing safety belts. Police did not disclose the ages of the children and whether the driver was the mother of all four children.
The driver was asked to take field sobriety tests, which police said she failed. Police also administered two breath tests. Both tests revealed that that woman’s blood-alcohol concentration was above the legal limit of 0.08 in Georgia.
The woman was arrested and charged with DUI after failing the sobriety tests and breath tests. Although a collision was avoided and no one was injured in the incident, the woman was also charged with four counts of endangering a child while allegedly driving drunk.
Source: Athens Banner-Herald, “Woman with four kids in car was DUI, police say,” May 7, 2012