Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Orange County can be
charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In fact,
DUI is one of those “wobbler” offenses that can be prosecuted
either way depending on the
facts of the case.
Usually, the first, second, or third time a driver is arrested for DUI
of alcohol or
drugs, it will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense, unless there are “aggravating
circumstances” present. Depending on the driver's prior criminal
history and specific facts in the case, there are additional ways that
a driver can face felony charges for DUI.
Three Ways to Get a Felony DUI in OC
A DUI in California is known as a priorable offense, meaning that any time
the same or any similar offense is committed, the penalties increase.
Essentially, previous DUI convictions will make a difference in the outcome
of a current DUI case.
If you were previously charged with DUI but your defense attorney got it
reduced to a California “wet reckless,” it still counts as
a “priorable offense.” Meaning, for the sake of any subsequent
DUI charges, the wet reckless would count as a prior DUI for sentencing
and penalty purposes.
In California, the penalties increase for every subsequent DUI conviction.
Each DUI conviction carries higher penalties than the previous conviction;
you’ll pay more fines, you’ll have to go to DUI School for
a longer period, your license will be suspended longer, and you face more
felony DUI can occur when the following are involved:
Multiple DUI violations. When a driver has three prior DUI convictions, a fourth DUI is a
felony. This includes combinations of DUI convictions
outside of California and any reductions to wet reckless.
Serious injury or death. When a DUI causes
death, the impaired driver will face felony charges.
Second DUI after felony. Once a person has been charged with one DUI that caused an injury, any
other DUI received within the next 10 years will be considered a felony,
even if it did not cause harm to any other person.
If you notice, we did not mention DUIs involving property damage only.
That’s because most DUI accidents are not felonies unless someone
else was injured, or it’s the driver’s fourth DUI offense.
The penalties for a felony DUI can result in prison time, severe fines,
and the loss of driving privileges, among other consequences. The best
strategy after being charged with a felony DUI is to consult with an attorney
who focuses on aggressive legal defense and who is deeply familiar with
the science behind DUIs, as well as the various ways to effectively challenge
a DUI case.
If you or someone you know is facing felony DUI charges,
contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to discuss your case for free with the