California’s court system prosecutes most charges for driving under the influence (DUI) as misdemeanors. However, drivers may face felony charges if they accrue enough DUI convictions in a ten-year period. Are three DUIs enough to lead to felony charges in California?
In most cases, the court treats a third DUI as a misdemeanor; however, there are exceptions to this rule. Get more information about a third DUI charge in California right here. Focus on learning more about the penalties and legal defenses for DUIs today.
All DUI Charges in California Are Priorable
The court in California takes DUI charges very seriously. Every DUI is priorable in the state. This means the charges remain on your record and impact your case if you are convicted of another DUI. DUI convictions stay on:
- Your criminal record indefinitely.
- Your driving record for ten years.
After a ten-year period, DUI charges no longer count against you. However, they remain on your criminal record even after ten years pass. You should know that a third DUI is generally a misdemeanor charge. However, a fourth DUI within 10 years is a “wobbler.”
Wobblers in California are treated as misdemeanors or felonies. The prosecution decides how to handle a wobbler. You could face felony charges for a fourth DUI.
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Common Results for a Third DUI in California
In most cases, drivers face misdemeanor charges for a third DUI. This is true if you are charged with a “simple” DUI. Simple DUIs generally do not result in injuries or death to anyone else. Though even a simple DUI can have serious repercussions on your life. A third DUI conviction could lead to:
- At least 120 days of jail time.
- Thousands of dollars in fines.
- Use of an ignition interlock device (IID) for two years.
- Up to 30 months of court-ordered DUI school.
Note that these are the penalties for a misdemeanor charge. As you can see, they are still serious. This is because the results of a DUI conviction get worse each time you are convicted. Get legal help handling a third DUI accusation in California to speak with a law firm.
Some Third DUIs Are Treated As Felonies in California
Thus far, we have only discussed simple DUIs. You may face felony charges anytime you are accused of driving under the influence and hurting someone else. The court treats a DUI causing injury as a “wobbler” offense. The prosecution can charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony for a wobbler. It does not matter how many prior DUIs are on your record in this case.
You may also face wobbler charges for vehicular manslaughter while under the influence. These charges could lead to years of time in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. You may also face higher fines if you are convicted of a felony. A lawyer may help ensure you are charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony in this situation.
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DUI Charges that Are Always Felonies in California
Some DUI charges always result in a felony accusation in California. It does not matter if you have previous DUIs on your record or not in these situations. Generally, felony charges are always used if you are accused of gross vehicular manslaughter or DUI second degree murder.
The prosecution reserves the right to determine your charges after a DUI arrest. They decide whether to charge you with vehicular manslaughter or gross vehicular manslaughter, for example. They may focus on your actions before an accident when making this decision.
Felony charges for causing the death of another person may lead to life in prison in California. A lawyer could work to get your charges reduced if you are charged with a felony DUI. Your lawyer could assess any plea bargains offered by the prosecution in this case. A plea bargain may allow you to reduce the penalties you face; however, you must still plead guilty to a different criminal act.
A lawyer may also defend you in court. Drivers accused of a felony DUI are not always convicted. Find out more about your options in this situation by contacting a lawyer now.
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Speak to a Lawyer if You Are Charged with a Third DUI
Three DUIs are not always a felony in California. However, a third DUI could result in felony charges if someone is hurt or killed in an accident. The Simmrin Law Group may help if you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. You could also fill out our online contact form.
We are prepared to assess your situation with a free consultation. Let us help you right now.