FELONY DUI CHARGES
In California, DUI arrests typically result in a misdemeanor offense. There are certain situations, however, that can result in a DUI being charged as a felony. According to the California Vehicle Code, DUIs can be charged as felony offenses for any of the following three reasons:
- DUI resulted in injury or death of another person
- Fourth DUI charge within a 10 year period
- DUI charge with a prior felony DUI
While the first two situations are known as “wobbler” charges, meaning that they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, a majority of cases result in felony convictions. In any case, penalties for felony DUIs are incredibly severe, including harsh license revocations, costly fines and up to three years in a state prison. In order to avoid suffering the most severe penalties, it is strongly advised that you bring your case to the attention of the Law Office of James Dunn.
DUI CAUSING INJURY OR DEATH
According to California Vehicle Code § 23153, DUIs resulting in bodily injury to any person other than the driver are grounds for a felony DUI charge. This includes injuries to passengers in the same vehicle, pedestrians, and drivers or passengers in other motor vehicles. The legal BAC limit applied to this situation is .08%, and .04% for drivers of commercial motor vehicles. DUIs resulting in the death of another party are also grounds for felony charges, as either DUI vehicular manslaughter or DUI second degree murder. Given the seriousness of these situations, prosecutors do their best to gain convictions and steep penalties.
Fourth DUI Offense
If you are arrested for a DUI and have already been convicted of three of more prior DUIs within the last ten years, you will likely be charged with a felony DUI. This law applies to the entire state of California, and will be determined by your prior offenses, which can include California DUIs, California “wet reckless” convictions and any out of state DUI that would be equivalent to a California DUI. Fourth DUI offenses can be penalized by up to $10,000 in fines, up to three years in a state prison, up to a ten year license revocation and numerous other burdens and consequences which can remain for years after the conviction.
Prior DUI Felony
You will be charged with a DUI felony if you have a prior DUI felony for any reason. This means that even a typical misdemeanor DUI will be charged as a felony if you have a prior felony DUI conviction. If you have a previous DUI felony for causing bodily injury or death, you will be subject to this law. In addition, a prior fourth DUI felony conviction will also result in a felony DUI charge, even if your arrest occurred after the ten year period. As this situation can be defined as an aggravating circumstance, prosecutors often push for the maximum penalties.
The penalties for a felony DUI conviction are incredibly harsh. In addition to costly fines, sentences in state prison and lengthy license revocations, offenders must face life with felony convictions on their criminal records, which can greatly limit their social mobility and endanger all aspects of their personal and financial well-being. Beating a felony DUI charge depends entirely on a strong and intelligently crafted defense strategy. James Dunn, the firm’s founding attorney, can successfully implement his skills as an aggressive and thorough trial lawyer and a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association when fighting against whatever felony DUI charge you may face. To discuss the nature of your case, contact the Law Office of James Dunn today.