Felony vs. Misdemeanor DUI Charges
Is a DUI a Felony?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions about drunk driving charges. While the answer to that question will depend on many factors, including state law, there are certain aspects about a case that might suggest the driver will face a felony DUI charge. Does the driver have prior convictions? Was someone killed or seriously injured in the accident?.
All states have a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08 percent; however, each state has different penalties for DUI and the circumstances of a DUI arrest could influence the charge.
Were you arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? One of our sponsoring DUI attorneys can review your case and explain in detail whether you might be facing a felony DUI or a misdemeanor if you are convicted.
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Classifying a DUI Charge
Whether or not a drunk driving charge will be classified as a felony depend on a number of factors. Were other passengers in the vehicle? What sort of damage was done in the collision? What are the laws in your state? All of these questions and more will be asked and used in determining whether you are facing misdemeanor DUI charges or something more serious like DUI manslaughter.
Often times, this charge is referred to as reckless homicide or vehicular homicide if the accident results in the death of another driver or passenger.
Felony DUI charges and penalties can be extreme and could result in jail time
Some states institute a felony classification for multiple DUI offenses. In the state of New York, for example, a second DUI conviction within 10 years is classified as a Class E felony. The same classification is made in Wyoming, among others.
Georgia and Texas also classify multiple DUI offenses as felonies, but only upon the fourth conviction.
Other states vary, and so it can be a good idea to examine the latest DUI laws in your state.
Felony and Misdemeanor DUI Sentencing
Generally speaking, the major difference between a misdemeanor and a felony has to do with the penalties involved. A misdemeanor requiring incarceration will be served at the county jail, while a felony must be served at the state penitentiary.
Furthermore, felonies carry additional consequences.
Many government agencies, companies that work with children, or private companies that deal with classified information have the right to access your criminal record for examination during a job hiring process.
Many companies also have policies that preclude hiring convicted felons, which includes felony DUI if convicted.
For more information on DUI laws and charges, connect with an attorney in your area by filing out the free form on this page or by calling 877-349-1311. Arrange a free consultation with a local DUI lawyer.
Each drunk driving charge is unique. Fill out the form on this page to have a lawyer assess your individual case: