The question “is a DUI a felony or a misdemeanor” depends on a number of factors. These include:
- How many prior offenses the driver has on his or her record.
- The level of blood alcohol that showed up in the breath test; and…
- Was anyone other than the driver was injured in any accident?
If you are caught driving under the influence, you really need to take action on two fronts:
- Make sure you know what the facts are about DUI (driving under the influence) and related topics. This is where this website will prove invaluable to you.
- Seek professional advice from a specialist criminal or DUI lawyer, who alone is qualified to answer the question “Is a DUI a felony or a misdemeanor?” as it applies to your particular case.
The drinking and driving facts are not pretty. Across the USA, it is illegal for drivers to have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 % or higher when in charge of or operating a motor vehicle. This is true whether the vehicle being driven is a car, motorcycle, or motor-boat. Penalties for a DUI conviction range from probation and fines to driver’s license suspension and jail time. A first offense for DUI is often classed as a misdemeanor.
The usual penalties for a misdemeanor DUI conviction include:
- Community service
- Drivers license suspension
- Brief jail time in a county jail; and perhaps…
- The installation of an ignition interlock device.
When Is A DUI A Felony?
So, what about your case? When is a DUI a felony is something you need to know, because the penalties imposed by courts for a felony DUI are generally much harsher than for the same offense when classed as a misdemeanor. The simple facts are this: a person convicted of felony DUI can expect to face a lengthy prison sentence and face heavy fines. Convicted felons also lose many civil rights, including the ability to vote in elections and own a firearm. It is also likely that he or she will also lose his or her driver’s license for several years, if not forever.
Once convicted, it is not easy for an habitual offender to get his or her driver’s license back. This is especially if the question “is a DUI a felony?” turns out to be true. An assessment interview will be required and a professional counselor will try and determine how much of an ongoing problem alcohol (or drugs) are. It is possible that the offender may be sent to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or some similar course. Whilst compliance is not mandatory, it is the only way he or she will ever get their driver’s license back.
Is A DUI A Felony Conviction For Life?
Most of those convicted of a felony DUI are under the belief that nothing can be done to patch up their criminal records. This is not the case. There are several ways to get convicted DUI and DWI drivers relief. One way of doing this is to have a “wobbler” conviction reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. There are many benefits in trying this. It would mean that the person convicted would no longer be regarded as an ex-felon. And only a misdemeanor would need to be admitted on a future job application. When successful, it the court’s duty to notify the Department of Justice of the reduced classification, and the Department of Justice would notify the various law enforcement agencies.
To see if you would benefit from this kind of relief you really must consult an experienced DUI lawyer. Our advice is not to jump at the first lawyer you find. It is always best to check out your options and see who is available. Abilities and fees both vary wildly from one lawyer to another. Ideally you will want to find a DUI attorney who only handles this kind of work. Sometimes it pays to ask a friendly law enforcement officer who they would recommend. I strongly advise against asking the arresting officer in your case – he will want you to be convicted and so will be biased.
Whilst you’re wondering if in your case, is a DUI a felony, take time to consider what the various terms you will hear mean. Criminal cases involving drunk driving (or driving under the influence) are known by many different names. These include:
- “Wet Reckless” (reckless driving when under the influence of alcohol).
- DWI (driving while impaired or intoxicated)
- DWAI (driving while abilities are impaired)
- OUIL (operating under the influence of liquor)
- OUI (operating under the influence)
- DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants)
- OMVI (operating a motor vehicle while impaired
So, when is a DUI a felony? Generally speaking, if the driver of a vehicle drives while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and commits an illegal or forbidden act or neglects a duty imposed on him or her under Federal or State law which is found to have caused a traffic collision injuring someone other than himself, then the DUI will be a felony. But it has to be provided that the accident was the driver’s fault. If a driver under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is found not to be at fault for the traffic accident, then the driver shall only be charged with a misdemeanor.
It is impossible to stress how important it is for any driver caught driving under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs to seek the advice of a specialist DIU Lawyer. The question Is a DUI a felony or a misdemeanor is best directed at an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
Do I Need A DUI Attorney? If you are asking the question because you’ve been busted, then the answer is a definite YES. Not only that but you will need a specialist Criminal Defense Attorney.
What appear simple questions like “Is a DUI a Felony” and “Can I get my DWI conviction expunged” can only really be answered by a competent lawyer who knows all about the DUI and DWI laws in your area. A particular attorney may be the “bee’s knees” when it comes to making out a will or even driving offenses in California but if you’re arrested and charged with Driving Under The Influence in Alaska, he may be no good to you at all.
Anyone unfortunate to be charged with a serious driving offense such as “driving under the influence” of drugs or alcohol – DUI, “operating under the influence” (OUI),”driving while intoxicated” (DWI), “operating a motor vehicle when intoxicated” (OMVI), “driving under intense influence” (also known as DUII), “operating while intoxicated” (aka OWI), “driving under the influence per se or drunk in charge” (of a vehicle) and or “driving under the combined influence of alcohol and/or other drugs”, needs immediate legal advice.
The actual charge you will receive depends very much on the jurisdiction you are arrested in, and might well include being in physical control of a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You don’t even have to be at the wheel of your vehicle to be arrested and charged with these offenses. The simple act of being in charge of a car or other vehicle (such as boat or motorcycle) is regarded as a crime in many jurisdictions. This can involve nothing more than having the vehicle’s keys on your person.
The first question asked by many who are arrested is “Is a DUI a felony?” and a quick and easy answer is that it could be, depending on the circumstances of your arrest, where your arrest took place and whether or not it is your first offense. Other questions that need to be asked include “was anyone else injured in a crash?” and “did you resist arrest?”. Your answer to these and other questions, will determine whether the answer to”When is a DUI a Felony?” is positive or negative. In any case you will need a DUI attorney.
Most states in the USA have strict guidelines on sentencing for DWI and DUI and judges are given very little say over the severity or leniency of the sentences they are allowed to impose. This is as a result of extensive lobbying from pressure groups such as MAD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), who – quite rightly – have highlighted the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs in the blood. It has been proved that the chances of having an accident when driving whilst even mildly intoxicated and hugely increased. When you are very drunk the odds rocket.
In most countries around the world (and this is true in the USA), there is no need for the arresting or prosecuting authorities to prove that anyone’s driving was worsened or made more erratic by whatever they had drunk or consumed, the simple fact that your BAC (blood alcohol count) is above the legally proscribed limit will be enough for conviction.
An experienced DUI or DWI lawyer can help you in the run-up to the trial by giving help and advice. For example, if you show genuine remorse for your crimes they can bring this to the attention of the court and help you demonstrate how this can be made visible. In one case I know about, the defendant was drunk, angry and resisted arrest, verbally and physically abusing a female officer. The next day he was horrified and immediately stopped drinking and sort help from an Anger Management Group. He apologized personally to the officer involved and not only were the assault charges reduced, the two of them are now man and wife!
To sum up: the answer to the question “Do I Need A DUI Attorney?” is a definite and resounding yes. You do need a specialist, DUI or DWI attorney, who can answer important questions like “Is a DUI a felony or a misdemeanor?”, “Is there a chance of asking for a plea-bargain?” and “Can I please pay your fee in installments?”
Welcome to this new website here to provide information and advice about drinking and driving and DWI/ DUI related charges. The big question we answer is this: Is A DUI A Felony?
Throughout the United States, you can be arrested if your BAC (blood alcohol content) reaches .08% or higher. The intake of alcohol required to reach this level can vary from individual to individual, depending on their health and how big or muscled their bodies are. Due to zero tolerance laws, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to operate any motor vehicle (and that includes motorcycles and motor boats) with any amount of alcohol in their system.
Many states impose their own exceptions. Here are some examples:
- In New York and Alaska (for example) the legal limit for commercial drivers is set at 0.04%.
- 45 States permit certain offenders to drive after if their vehicles have been fitted with ignition interlocks. These are devices that measure and analyze the driver’s breath and switch off the ignition if the driver has been drinking any alcohol at all.
- In 30 States, the vehicle driven by the offender can be impounded and seized by the authorities.
- In Alabama (for example), school bus drivers and day care drivers cannot drive if their BAC limit is .02% or greater (which is effectively no alcohol allowed whatsover).
- In Wisconsin you can have your vehicle seized for a first DUI offense.
In the USA, around a million people are arrested and charged with drunk driving related offenses every single year. Nearly half of all fatal road accidents have an alcohol- or drug-related aspect and something like a third of all Americans will be involved in some kind of road accident at some time in their lives.
Drinking and driving is to be discouraged and Driving Under The Influence is one of the most serious traffic offenses and attracts serious penalties. In some jurisdictions you can be convicted just for being in charge of a motor vehicle while being under the influence of drugs and/ or alcohol. Usually a second criminal offense of DUI (driving “under the influence”) or DWI driving “while impaired” will also be charged in almost all states. There is a presumption of guilt where the person’s BAC (blood alcohol) level reaches 0.08% or more (the equivalent to 8g of alcohol to 10 liters of blood). Certain states (including Colorado) will also include a lesser charge, often referred to as driving while ability impaired. Wisconsin is the only state that regards drunk driving first offense arrests as a forfeiture.
DUI is a serious offense. Being convicted can and will have a long-lasting impact on your job prospects and your family. If your employer demands a clean driving license, you could find yourself out of a job. It will also be far more difficult to find another job with a criminal record. You become a “high risk” driver and your insurance payments will increase dramatically – if you can find anyone to insure you at all.
The message is clear: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. If you have already been caught driving whilst under the influence of alcohol, our advise is to LEARN YOUR LESSON: DO NOT DO IT AGAIN and seek urgent professional advice. An experienced specialist DUI lawyer will come up with a defense strategy that will give the best possible outcome to your case. Find a good lawyer online today.