A majority of DUI cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors. In certain situations, however, an individual may face felony charges for driving under the influence. When DUIs are prosecuted as felonies, the penalties are intensified and will include mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment. The consequences of living with a felony conviction also create additional burdens and long-term limitations, particularly when it comes to finding employment.
In California, there are four ways in which a driver may be charged with a felony DUI:
- Multiple DUIs – Under California law, drivers may face felony charges if they have been convicted of four of more DUIs within a 10 year period. Priorable offenses include California DUIs, out-of-state DUIs, and wet reckless convictions.
- Prior Felony DUI – If a motorist has been convicted of a felony DUI at any time and is arrested for driving under the influence, they may face felony charges. This means that even if an individual faces DUI charges after the 10 year look back period, and even if the new offense is not typically a felony, they will still face felony charges if they have a felony DUI conviction on their record.
- DUI Causing Injury – DUIs involving injuries are grounds for felony charges. Penalties for DUIs resulting in injury can be severe, including up to three years in prison, one additional year for each additional victim injured, and up to three additional years if a victim sustains serious bodily injuries.
- Vehicular Manslaughter– DUI manslaughter – or a DUI that results in death – is the most serious DUI allegation one can face. Individuals convicted of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated face harsh penalties, including lengthy prison sentences. These cases demand immediate attention from an experienced attorney.
If you or your loved one has recently been charged with a felony DUI, working with a proven Orange County DUI lawyer should be your top priority. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our legal team has successfully represented many clients charged with felony DUIs. We are prepared to begin working immediately on your case.
For more information about the charges and penalties you face and how our firm can fight to protect your future, call (949) 537-2202.