The Difference Between a Felony and Misdemeanor DUI
Felonies are the most serious category of criminal charges. Misdemeanors are less serious and have less serious consequences. In California, a DUI can sometimes be charged as a felony. There are three types of felony DUIs.
- If someone was injured or killed as a result of an accident that involved your DUI, prosecutors have the option to charge it as a felony. This will be dependent on mitigating circumstances.
- If you have three or more prior DUIs, the fourth can be charged as a felony.
- If you have a prior felony DUI conviction, regardless of whether the current DUI charge is a felony or not. Prosecutors cannot waive this, so unfortunately if you already have one felony DUI conviction, your next will be a felony as well.
The punishment for felony DUIs tend to include prison sentences in excess of one year in state prison and fines exceeding $1,000. Other consequences include losing your right to bear arms and temporarily losing your right to vote. Additionally, you must disclose your felony status on job applications and denial of certain professional licenses.
It may be prudent to retain an experienced DUI criminal attorney. They will be able to consult with you and hopefully negotiate with prosecutors about lessening the charges to a misdemeanor, reckless driving, or a complete dismissal.