What is a Felony DUI?

Jun 1, 2014 by

Everybody knows what a DUI is (well, have a good idea anyway). Technically, it is driving under the influence (that’s the DUI) of an intoxicant, which could be alcohol or drugs, and in some states is called DUII. But usually it is associated with being charged with drunk driving.

Drunk driving is a hot issue in law enforcement in the last few years because of the high number of DUI-related vehicular accidents, and as a result given the slightest probable cause, a driver is pulled over for a chat and possible sobriety test. Sometimes referred to as “impaired” driving, 1.4 million people in the US are arrested every year for drunk driving.

But not all people arrested for drunk driving are actually inebriated, or there may be mitigating circumstances which can impact on the charge. It is especially crucial to establish this when being charged with a felony DUI.

In most states, drunk driving is a misdemeanor, and carries hefty fines, some jail time, and license suspension for the first-time offender. But there are circumstances when drunk driving may be considered a felony, and since a felony carries heavier penalties than a misdemeanor, you don’t want that.

A felony DUI may be slapped on you in most cases if you:

  • Have a blood alcohol level (BAC) substantially higher than the legal limit
  • Are a repeat offender (in some states a second offense elevates DUI to a felony if the incidents occur within a certain period)
  • Caused bodily harm or death to one or more persons (even if it is your first offense)

If you have been charged with a felony DUI, you will need a lawyer with a comprehensive grasp of criminal defense law to avoid a conviction or at the very least reduce the charges. The consequences of a felony conviction can be life-altering, and every effort must be made to keep it from happening.

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