In criminal law there are three types of crimes: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in most states is usually a misdemeanor offense. A felony DUI is the most serious type of DUI that you can be arrested for and charged. The penalties for this type of DUI are much steeper than a misdemeanor DUI. Given the seriousness and the inherent complexities of a felony DUI defense, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in defending clients against this type of DUI.
Misdemeanor DUI offenses, commonly called “simple” or “straight” or “first offense” DUIs, can carry significant fines, a short stint in jail, driver’s license suspension, community service, and court-mandated DUI awareness classes. As long as you weren’t arrested with “aggravating” factors or enhancements your straight DUI is exactly that, pretty straight forward.
If you were arrested for felony DUI it probably means you were doing something other than just drinking and operating a vehicle or you are a repeat offender. Depending on your state’s laws, you can be charged with a felony DUI if you’ve had multiple convictions for straight DUIs in the past. For example, DUIs may be classified as a “priorable” offenses. Priorable offenses have increased penalties and sentences for each time that you’re convicted for the same or similar charge. In some states, if you’ve been convicted for 3 or more DUIs, or DUI related offenses, or have a DUI from another state – you can be charged with a felony DUI. In other states, you may be charged with a felony DUI with only 2 or more priorable convictions.
You can also be charged with felony DUI if you’re found to have caused an accident where injuries were sustained. Additionally, if you were involved in an accident and caused property damage, that can also be charged as the felony type of DUI.
GETTING A FELONY DUI REDUCED TO A MISDEMEANOR
A conviction for a felony DUI can be devastating to your time and wallet. It’s important to know, that in some states, DUIs are classified as “wobblers.” A wobbler means that you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Beating your felony DUI charge requires an aggressive and very skilled DUI attorney that specializes in felony DUI cases and can help you get your felony DUI hopefully reduced to a DUI misdemeanor. An attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor, where your felony DUI charges are reduced or even completely dropped.