Charged with a DUI: Felony or Misdemeanor?

California DUI laws can be very confusing and if you are arrested for a DUI, you may not know if you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges. The good news is that in most cases, DUI offenses are charged as misdemeanors with some very specific exceptions.

Multiple DUI convictions
Those who have had 3 prior DUI convictions within a 10-year period are almost certain to be charged with a felony. One often overlooked rule, however, is the time is counted from arrest date and not from conviction date.

Personal injury exceptions
A person who is arrested for driving under the influence after an accident stands a greater chance of being charged with a felony DUI. If the accident causes bodily injury to another, the likelihood of a felony charge increases greatly. Under these circumstances, even a first DUI may be charged as a felony.

Anyone who is facing a DUI charge should speak with an attorney who is familiar with the California DUI statutes. A defense attorney who is familiar with the laws may be able to help ensure that your charges are not upgraded to a felony charge provided the bodily injuries are not serious. Even so, an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor.