If you have already been convicted of a prior felony DUI, you already know how severe the consequences can be. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t realize that this also means any future DUI will also be charged as a felony. But there are defenses you can use—and the potential to get the DUI reduced to a lesser, non-felony charge.
Under what circumstances does a prior felony DUI affect a new DUI charge?
A prior felony DUI affects all future DUI charges across the board. This includes priors such as:
- A felony DUI causing injury
- A felony DUI manslaughter, gross DUI manslaughter or Watson murder
- A DUI that was charged as a felony because it was your 4th DUI in 10 years
Once the previous felony DUI is on your record, the 10-year window no longer applies. Your next DUI will be a felony even if it has been 15 years (or much more) since the previous incident. Similarly, the circumstances of the new DUI will not be considered—even if it was a simple DUI with no accident and no injuries, it will still be charged as another felony.
The only exception is if you were not actually convicted of the previous DUI felony charge. If it was reduced to a misdemeanor as a plea deal, or you successfully fought the charge, then it does not affect future arrests in this way.
How can I stop the new felony DUI charge?
The best thing you can do is speak to a lawyer who is experienced in fighting DUI charges. DUI lawyers have a toolkit of strategies they use to defend felony cases. In many cases, they can get the felony reduced to a different charge. Sometimes they can even win your case outright.
The most common defense strategies include:
- Disputing the test results. Breath or blood test results are usually the premier evidence in a DUI case, but there are legal grounds on which to dispute them. If your lawyer can attack the breath test or the blood sample, the entire case against you may fall apart.
- Disputing the arrest itself. If there was no probable cause to arrest you, the charges against you may be dismissed.
- Raising a violation of your rights. If you were not read your Miranda rights, any testimony you gave may be invalidated.
- Disputing whether you were driving. In some circumstances it’s possible to show that you were not driving or that you drank after driving, which can end a DUI case.
- Reducing the charge. If the charge is reduced to wet reckless driving, it is no longer a felony, and the results can change the course of your life.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 862-0199 and get your free consultation today.