You could face felony charges for driving under the influence (DUI) in California. Can a felony DUI charge drop to a misdemeanor charge? Sometimes the prosecution may lower the severity of a DUI charge in California. However, this does not occur in all situations.
Find out more about how a felony could drop to a misdemeanor with this article. Learn more about how California handles the prosecution of DUI charges right now.
Understanding Wobblers in the State of California
Some DUI charges in California are “wobblers.” The prosecution may charge a wobbler as a misdemeanor or a felony. Common examples of DUI wobblers include:
- Fourth-time DUI offenses.
- DUI causing injury.
- Vehicular manslaughter.
In many cases, prosecutors assess the facts of your case before deciding how to handle a wobbler. A DUI lawyer in California may advise you about your options if you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. You will find out how you were charged at your arraignment hearing.
You must also plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest at your arraignment hearing. Learn more about these options by calling (310) 929-6503.
Reasons to Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor in California
There are many reasons to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor level offense in California. For one thing, the penalties are much higher for felonies. Drivers convicted of a felony DUI often face prison time, instead of a jail sentence.
The prison system in California is designed to handle individuals accused of more serious offenses. Individuals in the prison system may face harsher conditions. Additionally, prisons are often located further away from your home and family.
You may also face the suspension of your driver’s license after a felony conviction. Misdemeanor and felony DUI charges often allow you to continue operating a vehicle. However, you must install an ignition interlock device (IID) to operate your vehicle after a conviction. You must continue to use an IID for longer with a felony conviction.
The court may order you to pay higher fines for a felony conviction. Finally, you are considered a felon after a felony conviction, and this may impact your ability to do certain things. For example, felons cannot buy or own firearms in California.
Methods to Reduce a Felony Charge to a Misdemeanor
In some cases, a lawyer may help you reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor. Generally, reducing a felony charge requires you to accept a plea bargain. The prosecution may offer you a plea bargain after your arraignment.
A plea bargain is a legal deal that requires you to accept guilt for a less serious charge. You would plead guilty to a misdemeanor like reckless driving, for example. You then face reduced penalties for this misdemeanor charge.
However, you should not accept all plea bargains in California. Some plea bargains work against your best interest. For example, the prosecution may offer you “wet reckless” charges as part of a plea bargain. While wet reckless is a misdemeanor, it is also priorable — this means it counts against you when it comes to additional DUI charges.
A lawyer may assess any plea bargains you are offered. Your lawyer may work to determine if you should accept a plea bargain or fight your charges in court. You should also be aware that the prosecution may not offer plea bargains for all felony charges in California.
Defend Yourself in Court After a DUI Arrest
Many DUI cases in California are resolved through a plea bargain. However, some of these cases go to court. Your lawyer may work on your defense after you are charged with a felony DUI. Your lawyer could work to show that:
- You were not under the influence at the time of your arrest.
- You did not cause an accident while driving under the influence.
- A law enforcement officer stopped you without due cause.
Your lawyer may help you successfully resolve a felony charge for a DUI, so you can potentially avoid prison time, fines, and other legal penalties. Start working with a lawyer right away after a felony DUI arrest.
Find Out if a Felony DUI Charge Can Drop to a Misdemeanor
Can a felony DUI charge drop to a misdemeanor in California? In some circumstances, this is possible. However, it may not work for all drivers. Reach out to the Simmrin Law Group to discuss your specific situation. You may reach out to us now by calling (310) 929-6503. You may also complete our online contact form.
Get a free consultation regarding your legal options right now. We are here to help you.