DUI offenses are typically misdemeanors, but they can be charged as felonies in certain circumstances. In California, the punishment for a DUI conviction may depend on whether or not it is counted as a felony. The penalties for a DUI conviction can be quite severe, so it is important to know what to expect if you are arrested for drunk driving. In this article, we will discuss how DUI is counted as a felony in California and the potential consequences you may face if convicted.
When Is a DUI in California Considered a Felony?
If you're caught driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in California, you'll likely face criminal charges. The severity of those charges will depend on several factors, including your blood alcohol content (BAC) and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. In most cases, a DUI is a misdemeanor offense. But in some cases, it can be upgraded to a felony. Here's a look at when that might happen:
1. Multiple Prior Convictions
If you are convicted of a DUI and have three or more prior convictions for DUI or Wet Reckless, then your fourth DUI offense is considered a felony in California. A conviction for driving under the influence can result in jail time, probation, driver's license suspension, and other penalties. The specific penalties depend on the facts of each case, such as the offender's blood alcohol level (BAC), whether anyone was injured and whether this is the offender's first, second, or third offense. Penalties also vary depending on which state the offense occurred in. In some states, a first offense is only a misdemeanor, while in others it is automatically considered a felony.
2. You Had a Felony DUI Conviction in the Past
If you have been convicted of a felony DUI in the past, you may be wondering if you will still be counted as a felony in 2022. The answer is yes, you will still be considered a felony in California if you have a DUI conviction on your record. This is because felonies are considered serious crimes that can lead to jail time, and they stay on your criminal record for life. If you are convicted of a DUI in 2022, it will go on your criminal record and can be used against you in future court cases. So, if you are facing charges for a DUI, make sure to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
3. DUI that Causes Injuries
In California, DUI that causes injuries is what's called a wobbler. That means the offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history. If you are convicted of felony DUI causing injuries in California, you face up to six years in state prison. However, if you are convicted of misdemeanor DUI causing injuries, you face up to one year in county jail. If you are facing charges for a DUI that caused injuries, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
4. Endangerment of a Child Due to DUI
A DUI offense that involves a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle is considered a felony in California. The penalties for this crime are much more serious than those associated with a standard DUI and can include up to six years in prison. If you have been charged with DUI and there was a child in the car, it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
5. DUI Causing Death
If you cause the death of another person while driving under the influence, you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. The penalties for this crime are very serious and can include up to life in prison. This is a very serious charge and if you have been charged with DUI causing death, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
If you're convicted of DUI in California, the penalties can vary depending on several factors. The most important thing to remember is that if you've been convicted of felony DUI before, or if your DUI caused injuries or endangers a child, you could be facing some serious jail time. That's why it's so important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you find yourself in this situation. We understand how stressful and overwhelming it can be when faced with criminal charges, but our team is here to help. Give us a call today, and let us start fighting for your rights.
Do You Need a DUI Lawyer You Can Trust?
With Lynn Gorelick, you don't have to face criminal charges alone. You will receive personal attention to your case. Ms. Gorelick will be the one to appear in court with you from beginning to end. Ms. Gorelick, herself, will be doing your DMV hearings. You will not be handed off to another attorney or associate. You deserve this kind of attention to your needs at this stressful time. Ms. Gorelick has represented people charged with DUI for over 38 years. She has NEVER been a prosecutor who pursues convictions. She has only DEFENDED people accused of crimes. Contact us today for your consultation!
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