When is a first DUI offense a felony?

Felony DUIDriving under the influence (DUI) is a crime in all states. In most cases, a DUI charge is classified as a misdemeanor, whether it is a first or second offense. However, under certain circumstances, a DUI charge will be bumped up to a felony. This is very bad for the offender because if convicted, the individual faces harsher consequences.

First-time misdemeanor DUI

Drivers charged with DUI for the first time often claim that they made a mistake that they will never repeat. They either retain an attorney to fight the charge or plead guilty and face the consequences of their actions. Penalties for a misdemeanor DUI include fines, license suspension, and some time in jail. Once they have suffered through the punishment, many individuals convicted of DUI never drink and drive again.

First-time felony DUI

For other people, even a first-time DUI conviction can be life changing because the crime is classified as a felony. A felony DUI typically involves injury or death to another individual at the hands of the driver. Harming someone else or ending a life is usually very traumatic. Realizing that one is now a felon and facing relevant penalties can also be heartbreaking.

First-time DUI offenders should read their tickets carefully to determine whether they have been charged with felony DUI. They should also discuss their situations with attorneys who handle DUI cases. A DUI offender can get a free DUI arrest evaluation from an experienced attorney by completing a short form on FightDUICharges.com. This DUI lawyer will discuss the possibility of fighting the charge and winning.

What qualifies a DUI as a felony varies by state and a local DUI attorney will explain the relevant state law in detail. Some states consider injury to another party a felony while others levy a reckless homicide charge upon an individual who kills someone else while driving under the influence. A felony conviction usually requires more than a year in jail in addition to other penalties.

A felony is a very serious crime so an individual charged with felony DUI should spend the time and money required to build a strong defense. There is no “do over” when it comes to a court hearing for a DUI charge so only the best DUI lawyer should be retained. If there are holes in the prosecution’s case, this attorney will find and expose them to prevent a client from facing a long jail sentence.

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