DUI laws vary significantly from state to state, although usually a DUI with no mitigating factors will be considered a misdemeanor. Classification of a DUI as a felony generally results when the impaired person caused severe injury or death to another person. In some states, the seriousness of the incident is taken into consideration when determining whether a DUI is a felony or a misdemeanor, while in other cases, the number of DUI convictions may be the deciding factor.
As an example, in New York and Wyoming, a second conviction for DUI within a specific time is charged as a felony. Other states, such as Georgia and Texas, do not consider a DUI a felony offense until the fourth conviction. Other factors involved in whether your DUI will be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor include your BAC level and whether children were present in the vehicle at the time you were stopped. Some states have more severe charges when the BAC is well above the legal limit, while others may charge the DUI as a felony if children were in the vehicle and were put in danger by the impaired driver. In some cases, if the DUI charges are a first offense, the sentence can be reduced to what is known as a “wet and reckless,” which has less severe penalties than a DUI, whether misdemeanor or felony.
In California, you can be charged with a felony DUI if you:
- Caused injury or death to another due to your DUI
- Have 3 or more DUI or "wet reckless" convictions in a 10-year-period
- Have at least 1 felony DUI conviction on your record
Why Speaking to a DUI Attorney is Critical
If you have been charged with a DUI—felony or misdemeanor—it is essential you have an experienced DUI attorney by your side from start to finish. A DUI conviction can cause far-reaching problems for you, including jail or prison time, significant fines and fees, driver’s license suspension, mandatory DUI courses, car impoundment, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device and community service. Remember, though, not every DUI charge results in a conviction. Perhaps your rights were violated at some stage of the arrest process. Your attorney could potentially have your DUI charges reduced or even dismissed. With so much at stake, it is crucial you speak to a skilled DUI attorney.
Contact our Oakland DUI Defense Lawyers
There are ways to fight against DUI charges! But time is running out! You need an experienced and skilled Oakland DUI Defense lawyer on your side immediately after your arrest, in order to have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. Call the Oakland DUI Defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed today. You can stay out of jail and even get your license back! Call today at (510) 907-6600 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information.