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When is a DUI a felony in California?

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2023 | DUI

Depending on the situation, a DUI charge can result in a wide range of consequences, from fines to possible jail time. An impaired driver could even receive a felony conviction, which can have long-term effects.

Drivers facing DUIs cases should learn about the various circumstances and additional charges that can lead to felony convictions.

Punishments for DUIs

In California, driving with a blood alcohol concentration above .08% can lead to a DUI charge. In addition, DUIs can also apply to drivers under the influence of drugs. Most DUI offenses are misdemeanors. However, if a driver under the influence is in an accident that leads to the injury or death of another person, that driver could receive a felony conviction. Furthermore, harsher consequences can occur for impaired drivers with minor passengers in the vehicle.

In addition, courts can charge DUI defendants with more severe penalties, including felony charges, if they have more than three prior DUI convictions. In some cases, DUIs accompany other charges, such as reckless driving. Finally, hostile behavior directed at law enforcement can contribute to legal issues and result in worse outcomes for DUI defendants.

Impacts of felony charges

Under California law, a felony offense results in a sentence of one year or more. In addition to longer jail sentences and greater fines, people with felony charges must also report their status when applying for jobs. In certain professions, a felony record can also negatively affect a person’s ability to maintain licensure. Additionally, someone with a felony charge might experience limitations on their ability to own firearms.

A felony conviction can have a lasting impact on a person’s life. Although a DUI is usually a misdemeanor offense, under some circumstances driving while impaired can result in a felony.