Georgia DUI Survival Guide
Serious Injury by Vehicle in Georgia
Serious injury by vehicle can be charged when there is also a charge of reckless driving or driving under the influence. Most (if not all) traffic offenses can be "upgraded" to reckless driving if a prosecutor makes that decision.
The prosecutor must prove that any serious injuries sustained were caused by the defendant's act of driving under the influence or driving recklessly. However, even if other factors contribute to an accident, a driver may still be convicted of serious injury by vehicle if the facts show that the victim would not have been injured were it not for the actions of that driver.
What constitutes serious injury by vehicle?
The law defines serious injury by vehicle as an injury that causes a person to lose or lose the use of a "member" (e.g., arm, ear, toes) of his/her body, seriously disfigures the person, or results in organic brain injury that causes the person to lose the use of their body or a member of their body.
Constitutional challenges alleging that the "serious disfigurement" language was void for vagueness have failed, so what constitutes serious disfigurement is a question left to the jury.
Georgia case law seems to say that all of the following injuries qualify under the "serious injury by vehicle" statute:
- Broken nose
- An ear that has lost most of its capacity
- Blurred vision
An injury does not have to be permanent to be serious, so even if a broken leg appears to have healed "perfectly," a driver can still be convicted.
A conviction for reckless driving or driving under the influence will merge into the more serious offense of serious injury by vehicle, which carries a penalty of one to fifteen years imprisonment. Our goal is to avoid that outcome.
It takes time and will probably involve the services of an accident reconstruction expert, forensic toxicologist, and/or pharmacologist. These are not simple cases, and you cannot expect them to go away without a fight.
That's what we do - fight for you, so you will not spend 15 years in prison.
If you have been charged with serious injury by vehicle, contact our office right away at 770-830-8560, or use the form to the right.