Some charges for driving under the influence (DUI) are prosecuted as felonies in California. Why would a DUI be a felony? Generally, the prosecution treats a DUI as a felony if:
- You have several previous DUI charges on your record.
- You were in a DUI accident that resulted in an injury or a death.
Felony DUI charges are very serious, often resulting in high fines and years in prison. Learn more about specific felony DUI accusations right here. You may also consider defenses to DUI charges in Los Angeles.
Felony DUIs and Past DUI Convictions in California
Sometimes, DUIs are treated as a felony because you have past convictions on your record. All DUIs in the state of California are priorable. They remain on your driving record for 10 years after an arrest, and they continue to count against you during this 10-year period. You may face felony charges if you’ve got:
- Three previous misdemeanor DUI convictions on your record.
- One previous felony DUI conviction on your record.
Note that these charges may get treated as felonies. Technically, these charges are “wobblers,” which can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies. However, most charges for a fourth DUI — or a second felony DUI — are treated as felonies.
You can find out more about wobblers in California with a DUI lawyer. Start getting answers to your legal questions right now by calling (310) 862-0199.
DUI Causing Injury and or Death in California
You will likely face harsher charges if you are involved in an accident while driving under the influence. In this case, the court may charge you under California Vehicle Code (VC) Section 23513. VC 23513 is also considered a wobbler in California.
There are also several charges you could face if an accident results in a death in California. Depending upon your situation, you could face charges under one of the following:
- California Vehicle Code Section 191.5(a): Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
- California Vehicle Code Section 191.5(b): Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
- California Penal Code Section 187: Second Degree Murder (Watson Murder)
Gross vehicular manslaughter and Watson murder are always prosecuted as felonies. You will not face a misdemeanor charge if accused of these acts.
Penalties for Felony DUIs in Los Angeles, CA
You may wonder what to expect from a felony DUI conviction in Los Angeles. Generally, felony convictions result in:
- Thousands of dollars in fines.
- Years in prison.
- Restrictions on your driver’s license.
- Time in a DUI instruction program.
You should be aware that some felony DUIs count as a “strike” against you in California. The state uses a three-strike program for violent or serious felonies, which means that you would face increased prison time for subsequent offenses.
The court also considers you a felon after a felony DUI conviction. Your status as a felon will show up on background checks, and it may also impact your ability to own or purchase a firearm. You can focus on the long-term effects of a felony DUI conviction with a law firm here in California.
Possible Defenses for a Felony DUI Charge
As you can see, felony DUI convictions may have serious impacts on your life. Fortunately, you don’t have to handle these charges on your own. You should get help building a defense if you were accused of a felony DUI. A lawyer can work to reduce the charges against you right now.
Your lawyer may work to show that you were stopped without reasonable cause by the police or that you were not impaired while driving. Your law firm could also dispute the results of a blood alcohol content (BAC) test.
Prosecutors may push for harsher penalties if you were accused of a felony in California, especially if you have previous strikes on your record. A lawyer can move to have your prior strikes set aside for the purpose of your sentencing. Your lawyer might even work to get your charges dismissed, so get legal help in your corner right now.
Find Out Why a DUI Would Be a Felony in California
A DUI could be a felony in California for several reasons. You might face felony charges if you have multiple past DUIs or if someone was hurt or killed in a DUI accident. Get help handling these charges by contacting a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer. Just call (310) 862-0199. You may also complete our online contact right now.
We are ready to offer you a free consultation, so contact us now.