Is a California DUI a Misdemeanor?

When we get a call from someone who was just arrested for driving under the influence, one of their first questions is, “Is a DUI a misdemeanor?” It usually is, but not always. When someone is charged with a drug or alcohol-related DUI or both under Vehicle Code 23152(a), it is a misdemeanor.

When someone is charged with driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08% under Vehicle Code 23152(b), it is a misdemeanor. However, a standard DUI becomes a “wobbler” (it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony) under the following circumstances:

  • You injured someone else,
  • You killed someone else, or
  • You have three prior DUI convictions, including “wet reckless” in the past 10 years.

Please keep it mind that if you were drunk driving and you caused a fatal accident, the state can charge you with second degree murder.

If this is your first DUI offense and no one else was injured or killed, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. Remember though, a DUI can be escalated to a felony if you have been convicted of DUI or wet reckless three times already in the past 10 years.

If you pleaded down to a wet reckless in the past, know that it’s still considered a priorable offense for sentencing purposes, and will be treated as such when it comes to enhanced penalties on any subsequent DUIs.

Orange County DUI Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for DUI in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. Our lead attorney has been specializing in DUI defense for over 25 years and she is known throughout Orange County as the “DUI Queen.”

We invite you to come in for a free case evaluation where we can listen to your side of the story and help you determine which defense strategy would be best for your particular case. Call now to see how we can help minimize the impact of your DUI arrest.

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