While California takes the crime of DUI seriously, most DUIs are a misdemeanor charge. There are only a few sure-fire ways that a DUI can become a felony. The first way is if it is the fourth DUI within a ten-year period. In these cases, the DUI is automatically charged as a felony. A third DUI in a ten-year span may be charged as a felony, depending on the circumstances. If there is an accident that involves a DUI, the DUI may be upgraded to a felony if there are serious injuries. “Serious” injury could mean broken bones. Finally, if there is a fatality associated with the DUI, it can be charged as a felony.
The Merced Sun Star reports that a man was arrested for DUI after hitting a police car head-on.
46-year-old Noe Gama was driving a 2019 Toyota Camry eastward on East B Street. At about 6 p.m., he crossed the center line near Mercey Springs Road. When he veered into oncoming traffic, he hit the patrol vehicle of Los Banos Officer Lyle Kelley. Officer Kelley’s vehicle was parked facing west on the other side of the street.
Kelley was inside the vehicle and suffered from minor injuries in the collision.
More officers arrived and detected the odor of alcohol on Gama’s breath. The California Highway Patrol arrived to take over the investigation. This is standard practice when there is a crash involving city police officers.
Gama failed sobriety tests given at the scene. A breathalyzer was given, but the results of the test were not available. Gama was arrested on charges of felony DUI and booked at the Los Banos Police Department Jail. His bond was set at $200,000.