The terms DWI and DUI can be confusing and can mean different things in different states. DUI stands for driving under the influence. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. While some states differentiate, there is not a difference between DWI and DUI in Georgia.
DUI typically refers a driver who is operating a vehicle after consuming drugs or alcohol. Even prescription drugs can qualify. DWI usually refers to a driver under the influence of alcohol.
In some states, a DUI is a lesser offense than a DWI. For example, in Texas, the classification depends on the age of the driver. A driver who is legally intoxicated and has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 or higher can be charged with a DWI.
Georgia does not differentiate between DUI and DWI. Here the term DUI is used because it includes driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. A Georgia driver with a BAC of .08 or greater is automatically charged with DUI. However, if a driver’s ability is impaired, he may be charged with a DUI even if he has a BAC lower than .08. This means if you are driving under the influence of drugs, a police officer merely needs to show you were impaired rather than above the .08 limit.
Driving under the influence is charged as a misdemeanor in Georgia. However, the consequences of a DUI conviction are often severe.
Drivers lose their licenses, may be fined and face jail time. You may lose your job and a conviction can impact your future career prospects.
In some cases, a DUI is charged as a felony in Georgia. Driving under the Influence is charged as a felony if it’s the fourth conviction or if the actions of a drunk driver seriously injure or kill someone.
As well as criminal charges, victims of Georgia drunk driving accidents may file may file civil charges against the drunk driver and his or her insurance company. DUI victims may sue for damages including.
You can make a claim for a number of areas of damage in Georgia, including:
• Hospital expenses
• Property damage
• Loss of income
• Pain and suffering
• Wrongful death
Georgia also awards additional damages known as punitive damages in some cases. The state decided not to cap the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in drunk driving accidents. Many states cap this figure at $250,000.
The prospect of punitive damages is meant to act as both a deterrent and a punishment.