Driving under the influence (DUI) may lead to misdemeanor or felony charges in California. What is a felony DUI in California? Felony DUIs are often serious charges that may lead to prison time and high fines. Drivers may face felony charges if they:
- Have multiple prior misdemeanor DUIs on their record.
- Have one previous felony DUI on their record.
- Hurt or killed someone while driving under the influence.
Let’s consider possible felony DUI charges in California in more detail right now.
Felony DUI Charges and Previous DUI Convictions
All DUI charges in the state of California are priorable. Priorable convictions remain on your record in California. DUI charges, for example, stay on your driving record for 10 years. With each subsequent DUI conviction in this 10-year period, the penalties grow more severe.
The court considers a fourth DUI in 10 years to be a “wobbler.” Wobblers are prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies — this means you may face felony DUI charges for a fourth DUI. You may also face felony DUI charges if you have one prior felony conviction on your record.
Drivers convicted of a felony DUI in California may face:
- Up to three years in prison.
- Thousands of dollars in fines.
- Driver’s license suspension of up to five years.
- Up to 30 months of DUI school.
As you can see, a felony conviction for a basic DUI is serious in California.
Felony DUI Charges Involving Injuries or Fatalities
Not all felony DUI charges in California are associated with prior DUI convictions. You may face a felony charge if you are accused of causing an accident while driving under the influence. Drivers in this situation could be charged with:
- DUI causing injury.
- Vehicular manslaughter.
- Gross vehicular manslaughter.
- DUI second degree murder.
Both DUI causing injury and vehicular manslaughter are wobblers, which means you may face misdemeanor OR felony charges for these offenses. However, gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI second degree murder are always felony-level offenses.
You may face many years in prison for a DUI that resulted in an injury or death. In some cases, prosecutors may seek life in prison as a penalty for these felony charges. Make sure you get legal help if you are charged with a felony by calling (310) 929-6503.
Take Steps to Reduce Felony DUI Charges in California
Felony charges are used to prosecute the most serious offenses in California. Convictions for a felony result in prison time and high fines. Fortunately, you may be able to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor in some situations.
Prosecutors may offer misdemeanor-level charges as part of a plea bargain. Plea bargains are deals that offer you lessened penalties in California. However, you must plead guilty to a different offense to accept a plea bargain.
Not all plea bargains are in your best interest in California. In fact, some plea bargains work against you. A DUI lawyer may go over any plea bargain offered by the prosecution. Your lawyer may advise you about whether or not you should accept the deal.
Consider Defenses to Felony DUI Accusations
You may end your DUI case by accepting a plea bargain in California. After you agree to this deal, the court hands down your penalties and you move forward with your life. However, you do not have to accept a plea bargain. You may take your case to court with a lawyer. Your lawyer may build your defense by working to show that:
- You were not driving your vehicle while under the influence.
- You were stopped by a law enforcement officer without due cause.
- You did not actually cause an accident while under the influence.
Getting quick legal help allows you to build a defense for felony DUI charges. Your lawyer may also monitor police officers as they investigate your case to ensure they respect your rights. Begin working to handle felony DUI charges in California now. Reach out to a lawyer to discuss all of your legal options.
Speak to a Lawyer About a Felony DUI in California
What is a felony DUI in California? Any DUI that causes injuries or death could be treated as a felony DUI. You could also face felony charges if you have multiple past DUIs on your record. Get ready to handle any felony DUI charge by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Reach out to us now for a free consultation.
You may fill out our online contact form to get help. You could also call (310) 929-6503.