Some people are wondering is DUI a felony and if it is, in which situations. The answer to your question is yes, driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances can be a felony. If you get caught driving drunk, you will probably get arrested for DUI. After the arrest, the evidence will be gathered, examined and evaluated and the case is starting to build. From the very moment you got pulled over and caught with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, you clock was ticking, so it is vital to act fast and ensure you have a qualified DUI attorney by your side to prepare your defense properly.
Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony
Before we start, you should know the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. A misdemeanor is a minor wrongdoing or a non-indictable offense, regarded in the US as less severe than a felony. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is up to one year in county jail. A felony is a crime regarded in the US and many other judicial systems as a charge more serious than a misdemeanor, and it can lead to several years in state prison.
If you have been charged for DUI, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, it’s crucial to contact a DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will navigate you through the legal system, explain your rights to you and provide you the necessary legal representation. Legal assistance is required, especially if you have a DUI felony charge because your lawyer can reduce it a misdemeanor, saving you from harsh penalties and possibly years in prison.
Driving Under the Influence Can Be a Felony in Two Situations
If you have caused an accident which resulted in severe physical harm or death, you have committed a felony. It does not matter if the injured was a passenger, a pedestrian, or another driver. If someone has died in an accident because of you, it is most likely you will have to serve jail time or state prison time, even if this is your first drunk driving offense.
You should also know that you can get charged for this crime without causing harm to others. A DUI is also a felony if you had drunk driving convictions in the past. Laws vary from state to state for a second DUI, but in most countries in the U.S., a third conviction within a period of 5 to 10 years results in a felony charge. Except for being confined in prison, if you are convicted of drunk driving, you will have to pay costly fines and all additional court expenses and fees. You will probably have to attend AA meetings and do community service. Your driving license will be suspended for a specified period of time, depending on the severity of your crime.
Lastly, you will have a permanent mark on your record that can affect your life as a whole –from compromising the relationship you have with your family and friends to jeopardizing career opportunities in the future or even losing your current job.