Fry | Goehring successfully helps the injured recover the compensation they deserve.
Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Most people enjoy partaking in their occasional drink now and then. However, drunk driving is extremely dangerous. In a nutshell, driving while intoxicated not only places the drunk driver’s life at risk but also the safety, health, and well-being of innocent road users. Drunk driving accidents usually result in debilitating injuries, property damage, financial strain, and other losses.
Although driving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI) in Georgia is illegal, some motorists are still arrogant enough to operate a vehicle while drunk. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired driving accidents result in thousands of fatalities and permanent injuries every year, with roughly 37 people losing their lives daily. Impaired driving epitomizes gross negligence, and if you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Georgia, you may have grounds to sue the drunk driver.
Drunk driving claims can be complicated, even if there is no doubt that the drunk driver’s actions caused the accident. If you or somebody close to you has sustained an injury at the hands of a drunk driver, you should consult the seasoned car accident lawyers at Fry | Goehring to get help pursuing a compensation claim. We promise to relentlessly and fearlessly fight to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
Legal Penalties for Drunk Driving in Georgia
Getting a DUI charge in Georgia has serious ramifications, including prison time, hefty fines, license suspension, voting restrictions, and more. DUIs in Georgia can be categorized as felonies or misdemeanor offenses.
The legal consequences of getting a DUI charge in Georgia are significant. In addition to the drunk driver risking losing their driver’s license, there may be other profound implications. If a drunk driver hits you, don’t try to handle the case yourself. Instead, consult an experienced car accident lawyer who understands Georgia’s impaired driving laws to assist with your pursuit of justice and fair compensation.
Georgia DUI penalties include:
Non-Criminal Penalties For Georgia DUIs
All DUIs in Georgia are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the situation. Like most states, Georgia imposes several civil penalties on anyone charged with DUI. These DUI penalties can adversely affect your life and may include things such as:
- License suspension: First-time DUI perpetrators may face a license suspension of up to one year. A second drunk driving conviction within ten years can result in a one- to three-year license suspension, and a third offense can result in a five-year license suspension.
- Ignition interlock device: Persons convicted of a second or third DUI charge may be obligated to fit an ignition interlock device in their car. The ignition interlock device gauges the BAC level of the driver before letting the car jumpstart.
- Community service: First-time offenders are required to serve not less than 40 hours of community service.
- Complete the DUI Risk Reduction Program (RRP): Georgia mandates all DUI offenders to attend and finish a DUI RRP. The Department of Driver Services (DDS), which oversees this program, aims to inform drivers about the dangers of drunk driving.
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s (MADD) Victim Impact Panel: Georgia DUI offenders are required to appear before a MADD Victim Impact Panel. This gives drunk driving crash victims the platform to air out their views and make offenders aware of the ramifications of their negligent actions. MADD explains that the program is meant to help DUI drivers “recognize and internalize the lasting and long-term effects of substance-impaired driving.”
Criminal Penalties for Drunk Driving in Georgia
People who get behind the wheel while intoxicated may face criminal penalties, depending on the collision’s circumstances. Factors determining if a drunk driver will face criminal penalties include previous convictions, blood alcohol content (BAC), and other aggravating factors.
The following are some of the Georgia DUI penalties:
- Potential prison time of up to one year.
- License revocation of up to 1 year.
- Fees and court costs: Pay at least $300 to $1,000 at most.
- Attend and complete the DUI RRP.
- Do community service for at least 40 hours.
- Pay a license reinstatement fee of up to $210.
- Potential prison time: 48-hour mandatory hold and possible 90 days to 1 year.
- License suspension of 3 years.
- Fees and court costs: Pay at least $600 to $1,000 at most.
- Attend and complete the DUI RRP.
- Do community service for at least 30 days.
- Substance abuse and treatment programs at the expense of the offender.
- Pay $210 for license reinstatement.
- Potential prison time: Mandatory 15-day hold and a jail time of up to 1 year.
- License suspension for five years.
- Fees and court costs: At least $1,000 and not more than $5,000.
- Attend and complete the DUI RRP.
- Mandatory community service of 30 days.
- The offender’s address, photo, and name will be published in the local newspaper.
- Considered a repeat offender; license suspended; sent to court and the DMV.
- A fourth DUI conviction within ten years can be classified as a felony.
- In Georgia, any drunk driving fatality by habitual offenders is subject to a fine of up to $100,000, license revocation, and a prison sentence of up to fifteen years for each charge.
Filing a Claim After a Drunk Driving Accident
Knowing your rights after being involved in a drunk driving accident can help you recover fair compensation for damages suffered. Drunk driving is inherently negligent. Sadly, even if the other driver was clearly drunk in the moments leading to the crash, compensation is not assured. Auto accident victims often face an uphill battle fighting for compensation after such crashes.
Georgia is an at-fault state. Simply put, the driver responsible for the crash reimburses the victim for their damages. Drivers are obligated to carry liability insurance ($25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident) to provide coverage for crashes they cause. However, note that the drunk driver’s insurance company will not pay above the policy limits. So, which route do you take to seek the compensation and justice you deserve?
Following an accident with a driver under the influence, there are various approaches our legal team can take to seek financial compensation for the damages you suffered, including:
Filing a Car Accident Insurance Claim
Filing a standard auto accident insurance claim is the most common option in a drunk driving case. You can file a “first-party” auto accident insurance claim with your insurance company or a “third-party” claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
Pursuing compensation from your insurance company after a crash involving an impaired driver is an appropriate route in the following circumstances:
- When the drunk driver is not insured or has too little coverage
- If you caused the crash
- If it was a hit-and-run accident
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Drunk Driver
If reaching an agreement outside of court is not possible to settle your claim, you’ll have to sue the drunk driver and present your evidence in court.
At Fry | Goehring, our skilled personal injury attorneys can help you obtain crucial evidence, including lab results of the driver’s BAC level, medical records, witness statements, and a police report to prove the drunk driver’s negligence, how they harmed you, and the amount of damages you suffered, and fight to recover compensation to “make you whole” after the crash.
Filing a Dram Shop Lawsuit
In some cases, you can pursue a claim against a restaurant or bar that served drinks to the driver that caused your accident. Georgia dram shop laws allow injured auto accident victims to hold servers and sellers of alcohol accountable if the establishment acted negligently by:
- Knowingly or willfully serving alcohol to persons under 21 years old or deliberately serving alcohol to an already intoxicated person and;
- The server or seller knew the intoxicated person or minor would get behind the wheel soon.
Enlisting a seasoned Atlanta car accident attorney in complex cases like these can make all the difference in obtaining a favorable outcome. Speak with our legal team for assistance with your drunk driving accident case.
Seeking Compensation for Injuries and Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident
If you’ve been involved in a drunk driving crash, there are several damages you can obtain compensation for in Georgia, including:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You may presume a drunk driver is automatically guilty of the crash, but that’s not always true. While drunk driving is illegal in Atlanta, this does not automatically make the impaired driver responsible for covering car accident damages. You must prove the drunk driver’s negligence or carelessness to recover compensation. Our legal team will collect evidence to prove that:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care.
- The driver acted negligently by drinking while intoxicated, breaching that duty.
- The drunk driver’s negligence and recklessness were the cause of your injuries.
- You sustained injuries or suffered losses because of that breach of duty.
All motorists are legally responsible for driving while exercising reasonable care and caution to avoid hurting other road users, and drunk driving violates that duty. Do not allow the insurance companies or the other driver’s defense team to play games with you. Our drunk driving accident attorneys can accurately compute the value of your losses and assist you in recouping a fair settlement that reflects the severity of your pain, injuries, and losses.
Punitive Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident
Georgia statutes, specifically the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 51-12-5.1, define exemplary damages and how they fit into certain personal injury cases. Courts will only award punitive damages if you can definitively prove that the liable party acted with gross negligence and caused the crash. Awarding punitive damages to a plaintiff serves as a punishment for the person(s) who acted egregiously or with malice in the moments leading to the accident.
Drunk driving falls under gross negligence, which means you could be entitled to exemplary damages following a drunk driving accident.
Talk to Our Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys About Your Drunk Driving Injuries
Suing a drunk driver and their insurance company to recover compensation following an accident can be a daunting affair. Retaining a seasoned Atlanta DUI injury attorney is essential. If a drunk driver in Atlanta has hurt you, Fry | Goehring can help you navigate through Georgia’s complex DUI laws. Our car accident attorneys will aggressively fight for your interests and maximum compensation from start to finish.
Don’t bear the burden of somebody else’s negligent actions. Our personal injury legal team has helped recover millions in damages for victims of drunk driving accidents. We will assess your case during your consultation and explain your legal options. Call our Atlanta car accident lawyers today at 404-969-1284 to arrange a free initial case review.
Our Client Stories
What Our Work Means
Free Consultations Available
Contact Our Offices
Whether you have questions or you’re ready to get started, our legal team is ready to help. Complete our form below or call us at (404) 969-1284.