A typical driving under the influence (DUI) charge in California will be considered a misdemeanor. If there are extreme circumstances related to the arrest, it can be escalated to a felony DUI. The police and prosecutors are known to ramp up their tenacity for felony DUI cases alongside the increased penalties upon conviction. You must respond in turn and step up your defense with the help of our Sonoma County felony DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. We are fronted by Attorney Zelig, who has successfully handled thousands of client cases and has earned selection to Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠.
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What Constitutes a Felony DUI?
If the usual DUI charge in California is a misdemeanor, what needs to happen to escalate it up to a much-more-serious felony charge? Usually one of three things can create a felony DUI:
- Physical harm: If a drunk driver is involved in a car accident – liability is assumed to fall on their shoulders based on intoxication alone – and someone is hurt or killed as a result, the DUI will be a felony. Reducing liability for the car accident may be able to reduce sentencing as well.
- Fourth-time: The first three times a person is arrested for a nonviolent DUI, it will count as a misdemeanor. The fourth DUI arrest or conviction within a 10 year lookback period will become a felony.
- Previous felony DUI: A DUI will automatically escalate to a felony DUI if a previous felony DUI is on the driver’s record. This means that if your first DUI arrest was considered a felony, so will every DUI arrest after that one.
How Sonoma County Penalizes Felony DUIs
The penalties for a misdemeanor DUI in California are already considerably steep when compared to many other states; for a felony DUI, the escalation intensifies even more. In an attempt to stop repeat behavior, judges will often go straight for the maximum penalties after a conviction is reached; it should be noted that it has been shown repeatedly through in-depth studies that higher penalties do not lead to reduced crime.
A felony DUI conviction in Sonoma County, California will likely include the following penalties:
- Maximum $18,000 in fines and fees paid to state
- Possible 16-month prison sentence, likely 6-month minimum
- Three-month vehicle impoundment
- Driver’s license revocation for four years
- 30-month alcohol abuse and DUI prevention program
A felony DUI concerning the injury or death of another motorist could also be tied to other criminal charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, or attempted vehicular manslaughter. If you are convicted of one crime, it is likely you will be convicted of the others. Penalties will compound atop one another.
We Challenge the Law On Your Behalf
Dismantling the prosecution’s case for a felony DUI accusation is an intricate, difficult process. Allow our Sonoma County felony DUI lawyer be the one to help you through it. We understand the urgency of your situation but never allow the pressure to lead us to hasty decisions; we are professional, level-headed, and dedicated in every case we take.
Set up a free consultation with our Sonoma County felony DUI attorney to begin learning your legal options.
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