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Can aggressive driving offenses lead to harsher DUI penalties?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving |

Under Georgia law, it’s an offense to drive while drunk. If an officer charges you with driving under the influence (DUI), you can expect several penalties upon your conviction. You’ll have to pay a fine and serve time in jail. Your driver’s license could also be suspended for a time.

But people also behave differently while drunk. Some might act more happy or lethargic while intoxicated. While those drunk behaviors have their issues, those who get angry and reckless while drunk are most at risk on the road since their aggressive behavior can translate to aggressive driving.

If your intoxication led to aggressive driving behavior, you could face additional charges apart from DUI if an officer pulls you over.

When are you considered aggressively driving by the law?

Per state law, you commit an aggressive driving offense if you operate a motor vehicle intending to annoy, harass, harm or threaten another person. This definition is quite broad and can refer to a lot of dangerous driving behavior such as:

  • Blocking cars from passing or changing lanes
  • Changing lanes without using signal lights
  • Driving too close to the vehicle in front of you; “tailgating”
  • Going over the speed limit
  • Running a red light at an intersection
  • Weaving through multiple lanes to pass other vehicles

Penalties for aggressive driving

If you’re convicted of aggressive driving, you’ll get a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature on your criminal record. Georgia’s Department of Driver Services will also assess six points on your driver’s license. If you manage to collect 15 points in the span of 24 months, the department will suspend your license.

These penalties are in addition to those you’ll face for a DUI charge. But if you face both a DUI and an aggressive driving charge, you must complete a DUI alcohol risk reduction program and a clinical evaluation. A court might also order you to undergo treatment for your addiction.

In summary, the penalties for drunk driving are harsh. But if you’re also charged for aggressive driving, you risk losing your driving privileges for longer. The next time you go out for a drink, consider calling a cab for a ride home if you think your drunken state and behavior would get you into trouble on the road.