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Is DUI Offense Considered a Felony or a Misdemeanor in California?

Posted By SNL Law Group, APC
Is DUI Offense Considered a Felony or a Misdemeanor in California?

A DUI offense can result in serious penalties such as suspension of your driver's license,fines and even jail time. Usually a DUI offense results in a misdemeanor charge. However, in certain circumstances, a DUI offense can be considered a felony. If you are wondering whether a DUI is a felony or a misdemeanor in California, you will find out answers after reading this article.

DUI Offence: A Felony or a Misdemeanor in California?

Felonies and misdemeanors are both criminal offenses. However, a felony carries more strict penalties as compared to a misdemeanor. If you are charged with a felony, you may be ordered to pay above $10,000 in fines and serve more than 1 year in jail.  On the other hand, if you are charged with a misdemeanor, the fine is usually less than $10,000 and the jail time generally does not exceed 1 year.

In the state of California, DUI convictions generally result in a misdemeanor charge. However, any of the following cases can result in a felony charge.

  • If you have been convicted of a DUI offense more than 3 times — When you are convicted of a fourth DUI offense, it may result in a felony charge. Keep in mind that certain prior charges that are less serious than DUI such as 'wet reckless charge' will be counted when considering previous DUI convictions.
  • If you have previous felony DUI conviction — A DUI offense will be considered a felony if you have a prior felony DUI conviction. Prosecutors don't have the option to waive the charge in this situation. The case will automatically proceed as a felony charge. 
  • If you have killed or injured someone while driving under the influence —  In case, you have seriously injured or killed someone while driving under the influence, it could count as a felony. But in case the injuries are minor, the prosecutors can agree to try the case as a misdemeanor.

Is it Possible Get a Felony Charge Reduced to a Misdemeanor in California?

An experienced DUI attorney can convince the court to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor in certain circumstances. However, there are no guarantees when you are facing a felony charge in case you have seriously injured or killed a person while driving under the influence. Also, if you have admitted your guilt or failed a blood test, the prospectors do not usually agree to lessen the charges.

Having said that, it's important that you get in touch with an experienced DUI lawyer if you are convicted of driving under the influence. A DUI attorney will help you explore different options that could result in minimum charges for the offense.

Are you facing a DUI charge in California? If so, you should contact Schwartzberg | Luther, APC by dialing 909-457-4270. We have a team of highly experienced DUI lawyers who can provide you with professional assistance and guidance regarding your case. Contact us today for an initial no-obligation, free consultation.

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SNL Law Group, APC

At SNL Law Group, APC, our attorneys are able to assist you and your family with a wide variety of legal cases. We integrate technology into our firm’s operations so that we are able to spend more time focused on you and your needs and less time managing our firm’s operations. This translates into a better experience for you, our client. We have helped numerous California clients successfully resolve their legal disputes, including those involving the following areas of law:Family & DivorceCriminal & DUI DefensePersonal InjuryCar AccidentsInsurance Claim DenialsOntario, California LawyersIn every facet of our practice, communication is key! The Ontario, CA attorneys and staff... View full business profile here: SNL Law Group, APC

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