California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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While driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) is usually charged as a misdemeanor, most states will treat the crime as a felony offense under certain circumstances. The most common scenarios are when a driver has a third or fourth DUI conviction within seven to ten years of a prior conviction, or when a driver causes bodily injury or death to another person while DUI.
Further, some states like Arizona, will treat a DUI offense as a felony when:
The specific penalties for a felony DUI conviction will vary depending on the facts of the case and the state laws where a driver is arrested. A few common penalties, though, include:
People facing a felony DUI charge should consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney or DUI lawyer for help. A DUI attorney can help establish a valid DUI defense to help people contest their DUI case/criminal charges.
Most states will file felony DUI charges when certain aggravating factors are present. For example, many states will treat drunk driving as a felony offense when a driver:
Some states will also treat drunk driving as a felony DUI under other circumstances. For instance, Arizona law treats a DUI arrest as a felony offense when:
The specific penalties for a felony DUI conviction will largely depend on the facts of the case and a driver’s criminal record.
With that said, however, a few common penalties include:
Yes. DUI defense lawyers draw upon several different legal strategies to help clients contest felony DUI arrests and drunk driving charges.
A few common defenses include lawyers showing that:
Note that drivers must consult with a criminal defense attorney or DUI law firm to help establish the best defense. Please keep in mind that most lawyers provide free consultations, which means you can get all your legal questions answered without spending a dime.
Prosecutors typically file misdemeanor DUI charges following an arrest for drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
Police often base these charges on the allegation that:
Penalties for misdemeanor DUI convictions are less serious than those imposed for a felony DUI conviction.
Some possible penalties include:
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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