When does Drunk Driving Become a Felony DUI?
Normally a DUI is charged as a class B misdemeanor and caries potential penalties of up to 6 months incarceration and a maximum fine of
$1,000. However, in some circumstances a DUI can be charged as a third degree felony which carries with it maximum penalties of 0-5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, and with penalties that severe it is important to know the ins and outs of Felony DUI.
There are three basic ways an individual can be convicted of Felony DUI and they are the following:
- If the individual is being charged with a third or subsequent DUI;
- If the individual was involved in an accident in connection with the DUI that caused serious bodily injury;
- If the individual has previously been convicted of a Felony DUI or Automobile Homicide.
The elements for a Felony DUI are the same as a regular DUI and the only real difference are the possible penalties for a conviction. The basics for what the state must prove to convict a person of a DUI is they must show that the individual was operating or in control of a vehicle and they had a BAC of .08 or greater or they were impaired to the point that it was not safe to drive. For more info on the elements of a DUI visit our DUI page.
What are the Penalties for Felony DUI?
If a person is convicted of a Felony DUI then the court SHALL order the following: (meaning the court is required by statute to impose the following penalties):
- 0-5 year prison term or 63 days in jail;
- At least a $1,500 fine plus surcharges, unless the prison term is imposed;
- Screening, Assessment, and Intensive Treatment;
- Supervised probation if prison term is not imposed;
- Interlock Ignition for Alcohol Restricted Drivers and Defendants under 21;
Additionally, the court MAY order the following: (meaning the court is not required to by statute but has the power to still if it so desires)
- Electronic home confinement;
- Ignition Interlock for Defendants that are not Alcohol Restricted drivers and 21 and over;
- An additional driver’s license suspension of 90 days, 180 days, 1 year, or 2 years.
On top of all that a Felony DUI is of course a felony which brings with it the stigma of being a felon as well as a loss of gun rights and voting privileges. the judge also has discretion to sentence a defendant to additional penalties.
A Felony DUI is clearly a very serious charge and most individuals facing a Felony DUI have already been through the criminal justice system a few times but regardless of your familiarity with the court system having a good lawyer for your DUI case is invaluable. Call the attorneys at Criminal Defense Attorney Salt Lake City today to get help with your case, we can answer your questions over the phone and if you hire us we promise to fight tirelessly to protect your rights.