California legislation considers
driving under the influence (DUI) as an offense that does not stand alone on a person’s criminal record.
Instead, it considers similar offenses within a lookback period before
assigning charges and penalties. The lookback period in California is
10 years, and each DUI conviction within it will escalate the potential
penalties for the next DUI charge.
What many people do not realize is that if there are three previous DUI
convictions on your record within the last 10 years, then the next arrest
will automatically trigger felony charges. Even if no one is ever hurt
by your actions and you are cooperative with law enforcement all throughout,
the fourth DUI
will be a felony. By definition, a felony conviction will put you behind bars for
at least a year, but a felony DUI sentence could last up to 16 months. Additionally,
you may have to pay close to
$20,000 in fines and fees and will likely lose your driving privilege for four
Get a Santa Rosa DUI attorney on your side immediately if you are facing a felony DUI charge.
Other Ways a DUI Can Become a Felony
Continual DUI arrests and convictions is not the only way to get hit with a
felony DUI charge in California. Hurting someone due to intoxicated driving can also constitute
a felony DUI, even if your driving record and criminal history are both
spotless beforehand. You should also be aware that if you have a DUI felony
conviction in your past, any subsequent DUI arrest will be a felony. Imagine
the scenario where you cause a drunk driving accident when you are 21,
having no prior marks on your record, and are convicted of a felony DUI
since someone was injured; if you were arrested for a DUI 20 years later,
it would constitute
another felony due to the previous conviction, even though it is well outside
the lookback period.
It is clear through California’s laws that it will give no leniency
to people charged with felony DUIs. If you are facing a felony DUI conviction,
there is no time to lose. Get a
free case evaluation from our Santa Rosa DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. today.