In California, a prosecutor may charge a DUI offense as a misdemeanor, but the prosecurity may increase the charge to a felony if a person accrues more than three DUI offenses within ten years. A DUI may also be charged as a felony if the driver under the influence causes injury to other people.
Ultimately, the prosecutor will have the discretion of whether to classify a DUI charge as a misdemeanor or felony.
The Long Beach Patch reports that a woman has been charged in an alleged DUI crash that injured two people.
50-year-old Charlette Anne Colton was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday. She is facing felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense, driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense, and hit-and-run resulting in serious injury.
Last Tuesday, Colton allegedly crashed her minivan into another car on Del Amo Boulevard near Locust Avenue. One of the victims in the other vehicle suffered from a crushed leg. She also seriously injured a pedestrian in the accident.
Colton did not stay at the scene; she fled. She was arrested later that afternoon by the Long Beach police. She is being held on a bond of $100,000.
In 2012, Colton had a previous DUI offense where her BAC was over 0.20%, and she caused serious injury to another party.
If convicted, Colton faces a sentence of up to nine years in state prison.