Adding Property Damage On Top of a DUI
Being involved in a drunk driving accident is frightening. Not only are you worried about being charged with driving under the influence, but you may have the additional fear that you hurt someone. Once you discover that no one was injured or killed in your incident, you can take a deep breath and relax a bit. But you aren’t completely in the clear. Even causing property damage can add additional penalties onto your sentence if you are convicted.
People who are convicted of a DUI find it to be expensive. There are fines, court costs and other expenses. If you damaged property, you may end up having to pay for that, too. Being forced to pay for damage you caused is called restitution. When you are ordered to pay restitution, it is so the victim is in the same state financially as they were before the accident. The amount of restitution you are ordered to pay will depend on the value of the damaged or destroyed property.
Under Georgia law, criminal damage to property while driving under the influence may mean additional charges or penalties. It may turn a misdemeanor into a felony or make a normal DUI aggravated or elevated. If the charges are increased or additional charges are added, you are looking at the possibility of increased jail time, fines or both. However, these charges can sometimes be avoided, as “intent” is a main proponent in criminal defense to property charges. But, you need an experienced attorney by your side for such charges to possibly be dropped.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Atlanta or the surrounding area, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side. Call the office of Hawkins Spizman Fortas to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of the options available to you under the law.