Driving under the influence of alcohol, and these days “many types
of legal and illegal drugs” has been a problem ever since automobiles
became popular. In California and across the United States, a driver is
considered to be alcohol-impaired when their
blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08% or greater.
So, when a crash involves a driver with a BAC of .08% or higher, it is
said to be an alcohol-impaired crash, and any fatalities involved in such
crashes are recorded as alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities by the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to the NHTSA, in 2013, there were a total of 10,076 fatalities
involving drunk drivers with a BAC of .08% or higher, a figure that accounted
for 31% of the total traffic fatalities in that same year.
Giving the stats, is DUI a misdemeanor or felony?
Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both under Vehicle Code
23152(a), and driving with a BAC over .08% under Vehicle Code 23152(b)
are both considered misdemeanor offenses.
A DUI offense becomes a “wobbler,” which means it can be charged
as a misdemeanor or a
felony, when someone else has been injured or killed as a result of the impaired
driving incident. Further, if an impaired driver causes a fatal accident,
they can also be charged with second degree murder.
If a driver has prior DUI convictions, then the DUI can be charged as a
felony. For example, if a driver has three other DUI convictions or “wet
reckless” in the previous 10 years, the fourth DUI can be charged
as a felony. Also, any new DUI within ten years of a previous felony DUI
can be charged as a felony.
If you have a “wet reckless” it’s important to understand
that it is still priorable and will be treated as a prior DUI for the
purpose of DUI enhancements.
In a nutshell, a DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. However,
if this is your
first offense and there was no
accident and no one was injured, then it’s likely a misdemeanor.
If you, or someone you love has been charged with DUI in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to discuss the DMV and criminal aspects of your case.