The court may prosecute driving under the influence (DUI) as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. What is the penalty for a felony DUI charge? You could face fines, prison time, the loss of your driving privileges, and more.
Additionally, there are multiple felony charges used to prosecute DUIs in California. Some charges lead to more severe penalties. The state uses especially harsh penalties if someone is hurt or killed in a DUI accident.
Basic Felony DUI Charges in California
You might face felony charges for a basic DUI in California, even if you did not hurt or kill anyone. Prosecutors could charge you with a felony if you:
- Have three previous misdemeanor convictions for a DUI within 10 years.
- Have one prior felony conviction for a DUI within 10 years.
DUI charges stay on your criminal record and your driving record in California. They remain on your criminal record indefinitely. Each time you are convicted of a DUI, you face harsher penalties. The penalties for a basic felony DUI could include:
- Up to three years of prison time.
- A license suspension up to five years.
- Up to 30 months of DUI school.
You may also face high fines if convicted of a felony DUI in California.
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Felony DUI with Injury Charges in California
You could face DUI with injury charges if you were involved in an accident while driving under the influence. DUI with injury charges is considered a “wobbler” in California. Prosecutors may charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony for a wobbler.
Drivers charged with a felony for a DUI causing injury may end up with serious legal repercussions. A DUI with injury conviction could result in:
- Up to 16 years of prison time.
- Up to one-year license suspension.
- Up to 30 months of DUI school.
You may also face court fines for a DUI with injury. Additionally, the court may order you to pay restitution to the individual harmed in the accident. They may also bring a civil lawsuit against you to get compensation.
Felony Charges for DUI Accidents Causing Deaths
Some DUI accidents result in a death in California. If you were involved in one of these accidents, the court could charge you with a felony. You may face another wobbler charge for vehicular manslaughter. A felony conviction for vehicular manslaughter may result in four years of prison time.
Some charges are always treated as felonies. For example, you will face felony charges if accused of:
- Gross vehicular manslaughter.
- DUI second degree murder.
Both of these felony charges could lead to life in prison if you are convicted. You should always take these charges seriously by contacting a DUI lawyer.
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Work to Reduce a Felony Charge to a Misdemeanor
As you can see, felony DUI charges are prosecuted harshly in California. A lawyer may help you get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor charges may still result in fines. However, you may only have to spend time in jail if charged with a misdemeanor.
The jail system in California may allow you to stay closer to your home during your incarceration. Additionally, jails are generally not as harsh as the prison system. A lawyer may help you secure less jail time if you are accused of a DUI in California.
A misdemeanor charge may also allow you to retain your driving privileges. However, you may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) after a misdemeanor DUI conviction. An IID functions as a personal breathalyzer for your vehicle. It tests your blood alcohol content (BAC) each time you want to drive.
A plea bargain may allow you to secure less severe penalties after a DUI arrest. Your lawyer may also work to defend you in court if you are not interested in a plea bargain. Your lawyer may work to bring you a not-guilty verdict so that you may move forward with your life.
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Review the Penalties for a Felony DUI with Your Lawyer
You may face prison time, fines, the loss of your driving privileges, and other penalties for a felony DUI. A lawyer may help you avoid these penalties. Find out how by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. We are prepared to review your legal options now. Focus on your defense today with a free consultation.
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