In the state of Georgia, unless there are extenuating factors, a driving under the influence (DUI) offense is usually classed as a misdemeanor. This does not mean that the consequences are minor, as you might still receive probation, suspension of your driver’s license, and even have to serve jail time.
Normally, the offense will be a misdemeanor if it is the first, second, or third DUI offense. But on the fourth occasion the offence becomes a felony. In addition, irrespective of the number of previous DUI offenses, if the driver causes personal injury or death while alcohol impaired or causes extensive damage to property, that might also be classified as a felony charge.
The main difference between the two charges in Georgia, are that the punishment for a misdemeanor is less than a year in jail and a judge will often suspend the jail time and ask for probation for a first offense. However, if convicted of a DUI misdemeanor charge in Georgia, you will still have a criminal record and the DUI misdemeanor will not expunged after a couple of years.
A felony DUI charge, on the other hand, brings with it at least one year in a state prison. Those convicted of felony charges are also not allowed to work in certain jobs, vote or own firearms. In addition to jail time they may have their license suspended for several months or even have it taken away permanently.