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3 Ways a DUI Can Become a Felony

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Is a DUI a felony in California? Most instances of driving under the influence (DUI) are considered misdemeanor charges, which carry less serious penalties. However, three factors can lead to a potential felony charge for DUI in California. If you’ve been charged with this crime, you need the advice and guidance of an experienced DUI ticket lawyer.

Previous Felony DUI

Anyone who has had a felony DUI conviction within 10 years will automatically receive a felony charge for a subsequent DUI offense. Penalties are similar to those for other felony DUI cases and may vary dramatically depending on the circumstances of your case. What is a DUI felony? In California, a felony is any offense that carries a minimum prison sentence of at least a year.

Serious Bodily Harm

When does a DUI become a felony? One such instance is an accident in which another person suffers serious injury or death. In the case of severe injury, the judge has discretion to make either a misdemeanor or felony charge. A felony injury DUI carries fines between $390 and $5,000 along with a prison sentence ranging from 16 months to four years depending on the circumstances of your case.

DUI Frequency

If you already have three or more DUI convictions and receive a fourth conviction in the same 10-year period, the new charge will be considered a felony. This includes both DUI charges in California and those from other states as well as any reckless driving charges associated with alcohol consumption.

Penalties for this offense include mandatory completion of a 30-month alcohol abuse rehabilitation program, 16 months in state prison and up to $18,000 in fines. Your license can also be indefinitely revoked.

Whether you’ve been arrested for your first DUI offense in California or you’re facing serious jail time for your fourth offense, you need to consult a good reckless driving lawyer. He or she can negotiate for lower penalties based on the facts of your case.

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