Is DUI a Misdemeanor?
Some DUIs are misdemeanors. Other DUIs are felonies. The difference between the two can be dramatic, with felonies often leading to longer jail times, higher fines and generally more severe penalties. Generally, a DUI is a misdemeanor, but certain factors can cause it to be a felony crime.
The type of DUI offense one is charged with can depend on several factors. Depending on the laws in your state, these factors may be:
- If this was your first offense. Multiple DUI charges may carry harsher penalties.
- BAC level. Some states call for tougher charges for higher blood alcohol content.
- Injuries or deaths caused by the incident.
- Whether children were present in the vehicle.
A DUI attorney in your area will be able to determine whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony DUI charges. For a free review of your case with a local DUI lawyer, complete the free form on this page.
Misdemeanor or Felony DUI Charge Can Depend on the State
Whether a DUI charge is a misdemeanor or a felony can depend on the DUI laws in the state where the case is taking place. In Massachusetts, for example, a first or second DUI in which nobody was hurt is a misdemeanor, whereas any more repeat offenses are felonies. The same is true in California, where three DUI offenses or more could change a charge from misdemeanor to felony.
Also, in many states, even if it's a first-time DUI offense, if someone was hurt or killed as a result of drunk driving, the charge could be converted to a felony.
Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony
The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony can seem huge, but the implications of each are not always clear. In terms of jail time, a misdemeanor conviction can still lead to up to a year in the local or the county jail. Felony convictions may result in a jail sentence that is longer than a year.
You Can Consult a DUI Attorney
A DUI attorney may be a resource in a DUI case, and could possibly help determine what the severity of a given DUI charge is. For a free case evaluation of your case, please fill out the form below to get in touch with one of our sponsoring attorneys.