An Atlanta-area woman has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after a bicyclist was killed in an accident in Sandy Springs. 34-year-old Antoinette Battle will face charges for DUI and vehicular manslaughter for her role in the fatal crash.
According to reports, this is not Battle’s first DUI arrest. She was previously arrested in 2018 after she was observed by police swerving and driving 20 mph over the speed limit. She is still waiting to be tried for this previous offense.
Penalties Are More Severe the Second Time Around
Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a serious offense in Georgia. A first-time DUI offense is typically a misdemeanor unless aggravating circumstances warrant felony charges. Following a first DUI conviction, a criminal sentence can include mandatory jail time (24 hours if your BAC was over the legal limit of .08 percent), up to 12 months behind bars, steep fines, and probation. You also risk losing your license for up to a year.
Many times, first-time offenders don’t have to return to jail after a conviction. A judge will often say that the time you served behind bars after your arrest is sufficient. However, that first DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record. Once you’re arrested for DUI a second time, you’ll face much steeper charges.
What Are the Penalties for a Second DUI Conviction?
In order to have a “second” DUI, you must have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to driving under the influence on a previous occasion. The fact that you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, absent a conviction or plea, isn’t enough to warrant aggravated charges for second DUI.
Here, Battle is awaiting trial for her first DUI arrest. The outcome of that proceeding will impact the sentence she gets if convicted for this second DUI.
A second DUI is also typically a misdemeanor in Georgia. That is, unless there are aggravating circumstances that warrant felony charges. Battle is not only accused of DUI, but also killing a bicyclist while driving drunk. As a result, she will likely face felony DUI charges.
As a misdemeanor, a second DUI is punishable by a mandatory 72 hours in jail, up to 12 months behind bars, probation, and fines. You also risk losing your license for 3 years if this is your second conviction in a 5-year period.
DUI Charges Often Accompany Others
If you’re arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, the state isn’t just limited to charging you with DUI. In fact, it’s common to face multiple charges after a traffic stop where an officer believes you’re impaired. This is particularly true if you’re involved in an accident that results in property damage, injury, or someone’s death.
Battle is not only charged with driving under the influence, but also first-degree vehicular manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter is a crime in the first degree when it involves a violation of the state’s DUI laws. First-degree vehicular manslaughter is a felony punishable by between three and 15 years in prison.
When you’re convicted of multiple crimes, you’ll be sentenced for those individual offenses. The judge can impose those penalties consecutively (one after the other) or concurrently (served all at once).