In California, driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a “wobbler offense,” which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case. If you’re facing DUI charges for the first time in your life, you may be wondering, “What factors determine whether I’m charged with a misdemeanor or a felony?” Read on as we dig deeper into this question and offer clarity on the subject.
Even if a DUI is charged as a misdemeanor, there’s nothing minor about being convicted. As a general rule, even a first-time DUI conviction without aggravating factors will result in the following types of consequences: license suspension, fines, DUI School, AA classes, community service, DUI probation, skyrocketing insurance premiums, and let us not forget – a criminal record, which affects employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
These Factors Influence DUI Cases
Simple DUI and aggravating factors, what do these mean? In a nutshell, a simple DUI is where someone is arrested for DUI and there was no property damage, no accident, and no bodily injuries. There weren’t any children in the vehicle either. When there are “aggravating factors” present in a DUI case, it can mean any of the following was involved:
- The impaired driver had a child passenger.
- The impaired driver caused an accident.
- The impaired driver injured or killed someone else.
- The impaired driver had a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
- The impaired driver committed DUI while breaking another law, such as speeding.
- The impaired driver was under the age of 21 at the time of the DUI offense.
- The impaired driver has a history of DUI convictions (multiple violations).
If this was your first ever DUI offense and your BAC was close to the legal limit of .08%, and you did not have any children in your vehicle and no one was injured or killed, it should be a misdemeanor charge. However, if you have multiple DUIs, or if you had a high BAC, or if any of the above listed factors apply, you may face enhanced penalties for your DUI offense.
In the face of DUI charges in Orange County, you need a strong defense! Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to schedule your free consultation!