3 Reasons a DUI is Charged as a Felony in California
June 15, 2011

When arrested for DUI in California, one of the first questions people often have is,“Is my DUI a felony?” In most cases people arrested for driving under the influence are not charged with a felony DUI. In California, there are three main situations in which the district attorney might choose to charge someone with a Felony DUI:
there was bodily injury to a person other than the person being charged
the person being charged is on their 4th DUI (or more) within a period of 10 years
the person being charged has at least one prior felony DUI charge on their record

The punishment for felony DUI in CA can be either probation, with significant local jail time; or prison.  If sentenced to prison on a felony DUI, the term is usually 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years.  However if someone is injured in a DUI the amount of time one could be sentenced to state prison goes up considerably.

If the Prosecution adds a “Great Bodily Injury” enhancement to a DUI because a person other than the defendant received serious injury because of the DUI, there is a 3 year mandatory consecutive tack added to the sentence.  So if for instance, a defendant was sentenced to 2 years in State Prison for a felony DUI, and GBI was alleged- the defendant would then serve 5 years.  Also, the “Great Bodily Injury” allegation turns a felony DUI from a non-strike felony, to a strike felony.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a felony DUI contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich.  We’ve have been helping criminal defendants for over 30 years.  Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245.

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