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Consequences of a Felony DUI Charge

  • November 19, 2013

The Severe Consequences of a Felony DUI Charge

Even though driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is usually a misdemeanor offense, aggravating factors can up the charge to a felony. These aggravating circumstances could include injury or death of another while driving drunk, prior DUI convictions and/or a prior felony conviction of a DUI charge.

When obtaining a driver’s license, most drivers are made aware of the serious dangers involved in drunk driving. Every year thousands are killed or injured in alcohol or drug-related accidents. Because of that, lawmakers have enacted tough laws as a deterrent from operating a motor vehicle under the influence.

In nearly every state, drivers with a 0.08% BAC (blood alcohol content) or higher are legally intoxicated. These drivers are usually arrested for drunk driving, regardless of his or her abilities to drive. Typically, this is a misdemeanor offense, if the driver is not a repeat offender.

A Felony Charge

Being charged with a felony in any state is a serious offense that brings with it severe consequences. If convicted of a DUI felony, the individual will likely serve a minimum of one year in prison.

Most drunk driving offenses convert to an automatic felony charge if the alleged drunk driver also neglects their legal responsibilities or commits any illegal act. They can also be charged with a felony if their negligent actions caused harm to any other individual. In many incidences, the charge for driving drunk is an automatic felony if the driver has three prior DUI misdemeanors, even if they caused no property damage or human casualty.

Prison Time

When convicted for a felony DUI, the felon will serve out their time in prison, and not the county jail. In most incidences, the convicted felon will never be able to serve on a jury, and might not be able to practice various professions including teaching or law. Sometimes, the felon loses his or her right to vote, serve in the military or own weapons.

In some felony DUI cases, the convicted individual involved in an accident will likely be required to provide financial restitution to any victim. However, this is often determined in a separate hearing.

Loss of Driving Privileges

In addition to prison time, a felony DUI conviction brings with it expensive fines, and often the loss of driving privileges either temporarily, or permanently. Many businesses have policies precluding the hiring of any convicted felon, even those that have been convicted of a felony DUI. This includes government agencies, private companies, and businesses working with children that have the legal right to access criminal records for a comprehensive examination as part of a job hiring process.

A Plea Bargain

By hiring the skills of a competent DUI attorney, the individual charged with DUI might be able to strike a plea bargain with the prosecutor. A plea bargain often reduces a DUI (driving under the influence) felony charge down to a misdemeanor. Reducing a DUI felony to a misdemeanor can significantly reduce the severe consequences, and the need to go to trial.

Most attorneys that specialize in DUI defense cases utilize proven defense strategies, tactics and technologies. This ensures that their clients have access to the best defense of their charges under the law. Anyone arrested for a DUI felony or misdemeanor should contact an experienced attorney quickly to ensure that his or her rights are protected.