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When does DUI become a felony?

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | DUI Defense, Felonies |

A DUI is a serious offense in California and in all states, but first-time offenses are commonly misdemeanors. However, a driver could face felony charges in some cases depending on each state’s law. Drivers may undergo an assessment to determine their drinking habits and alcohol education. Several factors may get a driver charged with felony DUI.

Previous convictions and other law violations

A driver who has a previous conviction in a certain time period could get a misdemeanor DUI charge elevated to felony. This time period may range from five to 10 years.

If the driver gets caught again driving on a restricted license, the charge could be a felony. For example, getting pulled over with an ignition lock from a previous conviction commonly results in felony charges.

If the driver commits another crime or breaks another law, they could get a felony charge. Driving on a suspended license while intoxicated is usually a felony in most states.

Bodily injury or child endangerment

In some states, a felony charge results from killing or injuring someone while intoxicated, such as running a stop sign. However, the driver has a lower chance of getting a felony charge in cases of them being rear-ended. Having a child in the vehicle at the time may result in a felony charge even if the child is theirs.

High BAC levels

Blood alcohol content means the amount of alcohol in the body. Most states set the limit for impairment at 0.08. If a driver has a BAC greater than that, they may face more serious consequences. Law enforcement commonly uses a breath test to measure BAC when a driver is pulled over. Refusing the test could result in extra penalties.

A DUI conviction could result in loss of driving privileges, jail time and reduced custody rights. To prevent a conviction, the defense attorney of an individual accused of DUI may be able to find errors and discrepancies in a case. An attorney might examine the case and work to get the charges dismissed or reduced.