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What happens when DUI results in injury or death?

| May 23, 2020 | DUI |

In addition to the base penalties for driving under the influence in Georgia, the state has increased consequences for motorists who cause an injury or death in a DUI accident. These felony offenses result in minimum prison sentences and significant fines. 

Review the Georgia laws about bodily injury and wrongful death involving DUI. 

Serious injury by vehicle 

Under state law, serious bodily injury means the inability to use part of the body, severe disfigurement of part of the body and/or brain damage. A driver who causes an accident while drinking and injures another person will receive at least one year and up to 15 years in prison. Leaving the scene of this type of accident carries an additional one to 10 years in prison. 

Homicide by vehicle

When a person dies in a DUI accident, the judge may find the driver guilty of first-degree homicide by vehicle. This conviction carries at least three years and up to 15 years in prison. Additional penalties may apply when the driver was already a habitual offender with multiple DUI convictions. In this case, he or she will receive at least five and up to 20 years in prison, with no probation available for at least one year into the sentence.

Vehicular feticide

Causing the death of an unborn child in a DUI accident is a separate crime under Georgia state law. The state uses the term “unborn child” to refer to a pregnancy at any point in gestation. A person found guilty of vehicular feticide could receive at least three years and up to 15 years in prison.

In addition to prison time, any DUI resulting in bodily injury or wrongful death carries a three-year license suspension. During this time, the person is not eligible for a hardship license or early reinstatement. 

Often, multiple DUI offenses result from an underlying substance use disorder. Seeking help for addiction can prevent legal problems and serious consequences arising from DUI.