When Can You Get Charged with Felony Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in California?

Temecula, Murrieta & Riverside DUI Attorney

In California, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is generally prosecuted as a misdemeanor; it's still a serious crime that goes on your record and results in various penalties, but in most cases it doesn't count as a felony.

However, there are some situations where you can get charged with felony DUI. One recent example took place in Murrieta. According to news reports, a pick-up truck driver allegedly fell asleep at the wheel while intoxicated. When his truck went off the road and crashed, everyone in the truck sustained injuries, and one passenger passed away. One of the charges the driver now faces is felony DUI.

When can you get charged with felony DUI?

There are generally three circumstances that can land you with this charge:

  • As a result of you driving under the influence, another person died or sustained injuries.
  • In the last ten years, you've received at least three DUI convictions, which include convictions for "wet reckless" (a crime that DUI offenders plead down to sometimes). Out-of-state convictions also count against you if they're comparable to California DUI law.
  • You've previously been convicted of felony DUI.

Any one of these situations can get you a felony DUI charge.

Another point to consider is that you might face a felony DUI charge concurrently with other charges. For example, in the recent Murrieta accident discussed earlier in the post, the driver also faces charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

There are various defenses you can use against a felony DUI charge. For instance, you can demonstrate in court that you either weren't intoxicated or that your intoxication didn't cause the accident death or injuries. Regardless of what defense you want to present, you need an experienced attorney on your side who will work on your behalf with determination and dedication. If you live in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Winchester, Wildomar, Hemet, Perris, Banning, Corona or Riverside areas, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We can help!

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