When does a DUI become a felony in California? This is a common question and multiple factors can contribute to a DUI charge becoming a felony. In California, these factors include:
- As the defendant, if you have had three or more DUI convictions within the previous ten years, you will be charged with felony DUI.
- If you have already been charged with felony DUI or felony gross vehicular manslaughter within the previous ten years.
- The act of drunk driving caused bodily injury or death.
- Prior convictions for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated / when committed while operating a vehicle.
- Felonious vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and gross negligence.
We understand these terms can be a bit complicated to understand, for further information the DMV has a helpful article defining Gross Vehicular Manslaughter.
When does a DUI become a felony in California?
As we mentioned, this is a pretty common question, typically because people are curious about the difference between a DUI and a felony DUI and more importantly, what the consequences are.
Felony DUI Consequences
A DUI charge can have serious consequences on both your personal and professional life, but a felony charge can be particularly tough. With a felony DUI charge you could potentially lose your license for up to five years and spend four or more years in prison. In addition to potential prison time, if convicted, a felony will be permanently place on your record which could impact your ability to obtain employment, receive student loans, or possess a firearm.
If you are charged with the death of someone else due to your drunk driving, the charges are even more severe; depending on the circumstances of your case you could face life in prison. It should be clear that felony DUI charges are serious and require the experience of a knowledgeable DUI attorney. If you have been charged with a felony DUI there may be defenses available to you that could potentially reduce your charges, or have them dismissed altogether.
Facing felony DUI charges?
If you or a loved one is facing felony DUI charges it is important that the matter is not taken lightly. Only a skilled DUI defense attorney can provide you with the information and guidance you need while preparing for trial. If you have questions regarding felony DUI charges please call our office today at (559) 222-5800. In most instances an appointment can be scheduled for the same day.