From an emotional standpoint, a case where someone is accused driving under the influence and killing another person is one of the toughest. With the victim, you usually have someone who did not deserve to die. They are often young, in the prime of their lives. They are usually also close to the driver. The victim is often a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or sibling of the accused. Unfortunately, that person is not available to express forgiveness to the driver.
As for the driver, you often have a person who has never been in trouble in his life. He may be college educated, have a great job, and a loving family. But for this horrible incident he would have continued to be an upstanding citizen.
Recently, a San Jose woman pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing a 79 year old grandmother. She is waiting to be sentenced by a Santa Clara County judge. Her maximum possible sentence is 12 years in the state prison. In fact, the judge is precluded from granting this woman probation unless he finds “unusual circumstances” where the interests of justice require it. According to statements, the family of the victim has forgiven the defendant, and believes that the victim would forgive her as well. Unfortunately, California DUI sentencing law provides somewhat less opportunity for the Court to forgive her.
As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that, regardless of the outcome, nobody wins in these cases. Regardless of what side you are on there is nothing but tragedy in these cases. An innocent victim loses her life, and a contrite survivor is cast into the hell of the California prison system.
A DUI conviction in Georgia carries severe consequences. DUI is considered a criminal offense and will therefore go on your criminal record. That means every time you fill out a job application or apply for some type of license, you will need to disclose that you do in fact have a criminal past.
The minimum sentences for DUI in Georgia are severe. Even a first time DUI offense can land in you in jail for 10 days, but your jail sentence could be as long as 12 months. If you are over the age of 21 and found guilty of drunk driving in Georgia, your first offense will result in a one year license suspension and a fine of up to $1,000. In some jurisdictions, you will be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel.
If you are found guilty of a second DUI offense within 5 years, you may be given a jail sentence anywhere from 90 days to 1 year. Your license may be suspended for 3 years and you may have to pay a $1,000 fine. You will have to complete at least 30 days of community service and the local paper will print your photo with case disposition (and you have to pay $25 for it).
The more DUI convictions you have in Georgia, the worse your penalties become. A third DUI offense in 5 years will result in a jail sentence of 120 days to 12 months. Your license may be suspended for 5 years and you could face a fine up to $5,000.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Georgia, you need to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately.
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