Is a California DUI a Misdemeanor?

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Is a California DUI a Misdemeanor?

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.

  • Board Certified Expert

    in DUI Defense

    Chosen as a “Top DUI Attorney” in Orange County & rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo.

    Meet Virginia L. Landry
  • Answers to All of

    Your Questions

    Visit our FAQ page to get answers to some of the most common questions.

    Read Common Questions
  • Get Help

    Immediately

    Don’t wait, time is of the essence. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.

    Get Started Today

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Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. - Orange County DUI Attorney
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