Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney
Most states classify a standard DUI charge as a misdemeanor, however, certain circumstances can raise the level of the charge to a felony. A conviction for a felony DUI carries stiffer penalties and more lasting consequences than a misdemeanor charge. Not every state has the same rules for what does and does not constitute felony drunk driving, therefore, you should check the laws and procedures in your state for more information. Here are some common situations that could result in a felony DUI/DWAI charge:
Elevated Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Every state currently has a .08 percent DUI rule in effect. This rule states, if a driver has a BAC of .08 or above, the state can assume that the driver is intoxicated in violation of the statute. In addition, states commonly will elevate a drunk driving charge to a felony if chemical tests reveal that the driver's BAC exceeds a certain elevated level set by law, usually around .16 percent.
Some states raise a DUI/DWAI charge to a felony if the driver causes bodily harm to another. Sometimes, prosecutors have the discretion to decide whether to prosecute a DUI/DWAI case involving bodily injury as a misdemeanor or a felony.
States generally will charge an intoxicated driver with felony DUI if the driver has multiple prior convictions for the offense within a certain period of time. The number of prior convictions and the time period vary between states.
Children in the Vehicle
Many states have passed laws that make driving while under the influence with children in the vehicle a felony.
Driving on a Restricted, Suspended or Revoked License
Many states make DUI/DWAI offense a felony, if it occurs while the offender had a restricted, suspended or revoked license.
If you've been arrested for a felony DUI, it's in your best interests to enlist the help of an experienced DUI lawyer. A felony DUI can have lasting consequences on your life, including possible prison time, heavy fines, and more. To learn more about your case and possible legal options moving forward, we encourage you to contact an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney, Molly Jansen Law Group.