In most cases, you will be charged with a misdemeanor if you are accused of DUI. However, there are specific instances in which you could face the serious consequences of a felony DUI charge in California.
Our skilled DUI defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients charged with felony DUI for more than 35 years. Let’s take a look at when a DUI charge could rise to the level of a felony.
Felony DUI Causing Injury or Death
You could face felony DUI charges if you caused another person to suffer injury or death by:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, AND
- Committing an additional traffic violation OR driving in an otherwise negligent manner
If these two elements are met in your case, the prosecution could choose to pursue charges of:
- DUI causing injury – VC 23513
- Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated – PC 191.5(a)
- Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated – PC 191.5 (b); OR
- DUI second-degree murder (“Watson murder”)
You could be charged with a felony for each of these offenses, based on the facts of your case and your prior criminal history.
Multiple Prior DUI Convictions
If you have three or more prior DUI convictions on your criminal record within the past 10 years, you will likely face felony charges if you are arrested for a subsequent DUI.
Under California DUI laws, a “prior DUI conviction” includes any DUI or wet reckless conviction and any out-of-state conviction that would be equivalent to a DUI conviction in California.
Prior Felony DUI Convictions
You face felony DUI charges if you commit any DUI offense and you have at least one prior felony DUI conviction on your record. This means that a misdemeanor DUI charge with no aggravating circumstances can become a felony offense.
Felony DUI Penalties
The penalties for a felony DUI conviction vary based upon the specific offense that you are charged with.
- Felony DUI causing injury or death carries up to 10 years in state prison, fines of up to $5,000, a driver’s license suspension lasting up to 5 years, and a strike on your record under California’s Three Strikes law.
- Other felony DUI charges carry up to 3 years in state prison, fines of up to $1,000 and a driver’s license suspension lasting up to 4 years
The penalties you face for a felony DUI charge are severe. Not only do you face prison time and expensive fines, you will also likely lose your driving privileges for an extended period. Fighting these charges requires the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney who understands the valid legal defenses to felony DUI charges.
Contact the Felony DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of DUI, it is important that you speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable DUI defense attorneys have been successfully defending clients accused of felony DUI for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.