Which Dui Is A Felony?

Last Modified: January 22, 2024

Felony DUI charges reflect the most severe cases involving death, injury, or repeat offenses. Call Perlman & Cohen today to fight your case.

What makes a DUI a felony rather than a misdemeanor is often the severity and impact of the crime. In this article, we discuss the different factors that could influence whether a DUI is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony,

Key Takeaways

  • A DUI charged as a felony carries much stricter penalties than those charged as a misdemeanor
  • Felony DUI conviction can result in a 16 to 36 months sentence in a California state prison
  • Prior DUIs are taken into consideration when charges are brought, particularly those that occurred in the most recent ten years
  • Injury or death resulting from a DUI can increase the chances that a DUI is charged as a felony
  • Having a seasoned legal professional by your side during a felony DUI case is essential to creating the best defense to fight this serious charge

What is Considered a Felony DUI in California?

A felony charge for a DUI reflects the most severe cases of this type ofcrime of driving under the influence. For example, a felony charge might come into effect under circumstances where the person being charged already has multiple DUIs on their record. Felony DUIs can also occur if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the arrest or if the incident resulted in the injury or death of another person. A felony charge for a DUI reflects the most severe cases of this type of crime.

Does a Felony DUI in California Involve Jail Time?

Many people want to know if they could face jail time for a felony DUI and how much jail time they might face if they are convicted of a felonyDUI in California. For a felony DUI, one months in state prison. This is in addition to possible fines, probation, license suspension and use of an interlock device for the motor vehicle.

Reasons a DUI Would be Charged as a Felony

Any DUI conviction must be proven in the courts by the prosecutor by either demonstrating that (1) the driver had a BAC or blood alcohol level that was higher than the legally allowable limit or (2) the driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and was noticeably impaired in their abilities because of such influence. If these conditions are likely to be fulfilled, it is up to the courts to decide which type of DUI (misdemeanor or felony) will be most appropriate for the case. Generally speaking, past incidences and severe harm to others play a prominent role in why a DUI carries a felony charge. Below are five instances where a felony charge is likely to occur for a DUI:

Having 4 DUIs in the Past 10 Years

Prior DUIs can be considered when charges are brought in a DUI case. If there are already three misdemeanors DUIs on a person’s record, the 4th (if it is also within the 10 years as the others) is typically then charged as a felony automatically. Repeat offenses are considered very serious in the eyes of the court, which is why the punishment is more severe.

Prior Felony DUI Conviction

Having even a single felony DUI conviction on your record will cause any subsequent DUIs to be charged as a felony. This is regardless of the number of years that have passed since the initial charge occurred. It also means that the simplest DUI, even those that do not involve injury or accident, will be automatically charged as a felony. This highlights the importance of having excellent legal counsel who can help fight or get charges dismissed in the first place, as having a felony DUI can have far-reach consequences.

DUI That Causes Injury to Another

In some cases, a DUI that causes injury to another person can be charged as a felony DUI in California. This depends on the bodily injury or harm the other persons involved.

DUI That Results in Death

A DUI that results in death is another instance where the facts of the case will determine whether the DUI is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. In some circumstances, a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter will be appropriate. Still, an excessive blood alcohol level or trace of drugs in the system can raise this charge to a felony vehicular manslaughter DUI.

DUI with a Minor in the Motor Vehicle

Putting a minor at risk and having them in a vehicle while driving under the influence can result in a felony DUI charge.

Free DUI Consultation in San Diego

With the severe and lasting consequences of having a felony DUI on your record, it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney who has successfully fought these cases before. Perlman & Cohen are highly regarded for their ability to win these types of felony DUI cases for their clients or have charges dropped altogether.

How to Contact Our San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one are facing felony DUI charges, you’ll want to speak with knowledgeable legal counsel immediately to figure out the best way to avoid jail time or other penalties. In some cases, charges may be dropped altogether if you have the right people working on your case who are well-versed in the legal aspects of DUI cases.

To schedule a free consultation with our team at Perlman & Cohen, contact (310) 557-1700 today.

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