Whether your first or third DUI, a felony DUI conviction carries very harsh penalties. According to California State law, driving under the influence of alcohol generally is generally filed as a misdemeanor. However, some DUIs can also be filed as a felony irrespective of the amount of alcohol in the blood stream of the accused if one of the following conditions is met. An experienced Orange County DUI Lawyer at our law office can defend you against the following conditions required for conviction.
These conditions are:
- When the accused causes severe body harm or death to third parties.
If the accident merely caused body cuts, bruises or scrapes, the prosecutor would not charge you with a felony. For you to be charged with a felony under the California DUI law the accident must have resulted in death or caused severe injury to third parties.
- If it is the fourth or more DUI offense within ten-years time.
California law treats the first three DUI offenses committed within 10 years time as a misdemeanor. If you commit four or more DUI offenses within a period of 10 years, your charges no longer fall under a misdemeanor. California State law allows the prosecutor to charge you with a felony.
- If the accused had been convicted of a felony before.
If the accused was convicted of a felony for a previous DUI case, all the subsequent charges are filed as a felony.
Felony charges are much harsher than misdemeanor charges. The accused may:
- Serve a jail term whose length depends on the severity of the DUI offense.
- Have their driving license suspended for a long period of time or be completely revoked.
- Be ordered to serve under strictly monitored felony probation.
- Fines and fees.
- Have to undergo extensive alcohol classes.
- Have to undergo mandatory rehabilitation or treatment programs.
- Be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) that detects your alcohol levels and ‘locks’ your engine.
The penalties in felony DUI, particularly accident DUI depend on a number of factors:
- The nature and cause of the accident
- The severity of the accident
- The number of the affected of people.
- The defendant’s criminal background.
- The circumstances, age and cause of the prior DUI cases.
Like stated above, upon receiving a fourth conviction for DUI within ten years of three separate DUI offenses, the State has the discretion to charge the person with either a misdemeanor DUI or felony DUI. Additionally, the offense may be charged as a felony if the offense resulted in the death or injury to a third person. A person convicted of a felony DUI and may be subjected to imprisonment for a period up to three years, designation as habitual offender, and revocation of driver’s license for four years.
The person’s driver’s license will not be reinstated until the person files proof of financial responsibility and submits proof of successful completion of an 18-month driving-under-the-influence program or, if available, a 30-month driving-under-the-influence program.What are the Felony DUI defenses?
Our criminal defense attorney knows that the penalties for a DUI conviction are tough, which makes it critical for you to have the representation from an attorney who is experienced with these types of cases. Our attorney is well aware of the different legal defenses to fight your charge.
- In general defendants in a California DUI case have a wide range of defenses available to challenge their charge, including:
- Faulty Breathalyzer and Blood Test Equipment
- Law Enforcement Errors (such as the failure to conduct an appropriate standardized field test)
- False BAC Result due to residual mouth alcohol
- Breath Test was not properly calibrated
- The arresting officer did not have reasonable cause to stop you
If you are charged with DUI, call our office immediately so we can establish whether you are at risk of being charged with a felony. Your call is confidential, and an felony DUI attorney can speak with you right away regarding what the next steps in your felony dui case might be. Contact us now.