It is a DWI / DUI a felony?
If you are facing a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances, you can ask a common question: It is a felony?
This answer is not so simple, because DUI laws vary from one jurisdiction to another. Generally, DUI cases are handled in the superior court of the state, and each state has its own laws. In general, however, a first time DUI is a misdemeanor, with some caveats.
First, even a first DUI time usually will rise to a felony if someone was injured as a result of a drunk driver, or if there is reason to believe that the driver was negligent or reckless, in addition to the effects of alcohol.
In the case of serious injury, a DUI is often charged as a felony vehicular assault. If someone dies as a result of drunk driving incident, the driver will be probably be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter, or in some cases of vehicular manslaughter, which carries a higher penalty if the defendant is found guilty.
Another way that an offense of DUI raises instead of a misdemeanor is when a driver has multiple DUI convictions. This varies by state, but normally raises DUI as felony in the fourth DUI conviction. However, in some states even a second or third DUI arrest can be charged as a felony.
In some cases, the level of alcohol in the blood may also affect whether the DUI is charged as a misdemeanor or as felony. In most states, the limit of blood alcohol is .08. If the level of alcohol in the blood is well above the legal limit, the prosecutor may take this into account as evidence of negligence. Presumably someone who is severely affected as a result of very high alcohol consumption should know that driving in such a deteriorated state is likely to result in serious harm to others.
With all this information about DUI when it becomes a felony, it may be useful to define exactly what the term “misdemeanor” and “offense” means. Overall, a misdemeanor is a crime punishable by up to one year in county jail. A felony, on the other hand, is punishable by a year or more in prison.
The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony can come into play when applying for a job, housing, or even credit in some cases. Some employers, landlords and lenders may be willing to do business with someone with what is considered a “minor” misdemeanor, but would eliminate anyone with a felony conviction history.
If you are facing DUI charges, it is best to talk to a competent lawyer who specializes in DUI cases. A trained lawyer to handle DUI cases in the jurisdiction where the incident was can provide clear information about whether or not the particular circumstances of a DUI will result in felony charges occur.
In short, there is no single answer to the question “Is it a felony DUI.” The only way to know for sure is to read the documents of the DUI charge, or ask a qualified lawyer to interpret for you.
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