It is illegal if you drive under the influence (DUI) in the US state of California and offenders face harsh punishments. Influence means driving after consuming alcohol or drugs or using these substances while driving. Though first-time incidents of DUI are perceived as misdemeanors, there is a possibility that DUI can become a felony. A DUI felony could be a devastating experience and the results of the legal conviction may stay with you forever.
According to an article published on LAtimes.com, two kids died in San Bernardino, due to drunken driving leading to a crash, also killing their dad. You see DUI is fatal on the roads of California. Read on to learn more as to when you may run the risk of being charged with DUI felony.
When is DUI a felony?
A DUI is usually a felony when aggravating situations occur. In a few cases, the state will need to determine whether the particular aspects in a case warrant a felony or not.
Numerous DUI convictions
You could face a felony in case you are arrested and have a minimum of three DUI convictions previously in the last 10 years. It means wet reckless convictions and out of state legal judgments. So if you are taken into custody for your 4th DUI offense, the state of California has the right to charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor. Many factors are affecting such a decision including, injury or harm caused, BAC, eagerness to take alcohol or drugs, and driving despite having a suspended license. You can view article here if you would like to learn more about DUI incidents and the law.
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DUI leading to injury or demise of a person
You may face DUI felony even if it is your first wrongdoing, especially if DUI leads to serious injuries, damage, or death. It means any injuries or for that matter fatalities endured by the passengers in your car.
When your actions lead to physical injuries or the demise of an individual while drinking or taking drugs, the state has the right to penalize you with various DUI felony offenses. It includes DUI manslaughter, DUI leading to injuries, and DUI second-degree murder.
Previous DUI felony judgment
When you’re charged with a DUI felony previously, DUIs in the future might be charged as a felony at the same level. It is astonishing to know that it doesn’t matter how many years ago you were charged with a felony DUI. Convictions on a previous occasion, even a single one and that too, a decade ago, could result in subsequent DUIs and charge as a felony crime.
Penalties due to a felony in California
The legal penalties vary depending on a particular reason the law has charged you with and include fines of $1,000, imprisonment of 16 months up to three years, suspension of license for four years, and DUI School for 30 months.
Felony DUI leading to injury or death results in 16 months or 16 years imprisonment, fines of $5,000, and suspension of license for five years.
When charged with a felony, consult with a legal professional to manage your DUI case so that you receive the best legal counsel in the state of California.