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Can a DUI Ever Be a Felony?

When an individual is arrested for a DUI, one of the first things they ask their attorney is, “What punishments am I facing?” It is a natural response to be worried about the future, especially when your rights and freedoms could be in jeopardy. Most people recognize the severity of consequences within the justice system; i.e. misdemeanors have fewer, less severe punishments and felony convictions have the most.

Is it possible for a DUI to ever be considered a felony? The answer is, yes.

Under the state of California, there are three main ways for a DUI to receive felony level charges:

  • You have previous DUI convictions on your record.
    Having a history of DUI violations and charges is never good. In fact, it is one of the main reasons our Ventura DUI defense attorney tells his clients to retain legal services, no matter how small the charges may seem. If you have three previous DUI convictions on your record within the last 10 years, the fourth arrest is considered a felony.
  • You injured or killed another individual while driving under the influence.
    This situation is not always charged as a felony, but can be. If you were arrested for killing or injuring an individual while driving under the influence, you could be charged with a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI. Whether or not you are charged with a felony depends on the individual circumstances of your case. Your lawyer can help you determine what kind of charges you will face.
  • You were convicted of injuring or killing another individual twice within 10 years.
    Under California law, being arrested for a DUI within 10 years of a felony DUI automatically makes your new arrest a felony charge. If you have a previous felony DUI on your record, it is imperative not to get behind the wheel while drunk.

If you are facing a felony DUI, contact The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers today and request a consultation with our team!