Felony DUI Charges? Speak with DUI Attorneys Right Away

DUI charges can be difficult to face due to the often-varied penalties and the potential for the situation to be far worse if there was an accident involved or if the driver has been convicted of one or more DUIs in the past. Those who are charged with a felony DUI may want to learn more about what they are facing, then contact a lawyer to get help.

When is a DUI a Felony?

The first time someone gets a DUI, it’s not going to be a felony if they’re simply pulled over, tested, and arrested. However, even if it’s the driver’s first time facing a DUI, it can become a felony if the arrest is a result of a vehicle accident, especially if there were serious injuries to another person involved in the accident. If the driver already has a conviction on their record or multiple previous convictions for DUIs, they are likely going to face a felony charge whether or not there was an accident. If there was an accident, the potential sentence can be much higher than a standard felony DUI charge.

Possible Penalties for a Felony

If the driver already has a DUI or multiple DUIs on their record, the sentences are increased from a first-time offense. If it is a first-time offense but an accident occurred, the penalties could be higher, as well. Drivers face between one and 10 years in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, a revoked license for up to three years, and an ignition interlock device being required on their vehicle for up to five years. The driver will likely have to pay court costs, as well, which increases the total amount they’ll have to pay to deal with the DUI charge.

How Far Back the Courts Look

If the driver has previously been convicted of a DUI, the courts can use that to charge them with a felony instead of a misdemeanour. If the arrest occurs within 10 years of the initial conviction, it counts as a second offense. After that, it does not matter how much time has passed. Each charge will count as a third or subsequent charge, which means the driver will face the maximum sentence for a felony DUI conviction. A lawyer can provide advice on whether a charge counts as a first, second, or third offense, depending on the driver’s history.

Driving Isn’t Necessary for a Conviction

It is important to note that a driver can receive a felony DUI charge even if they were not driving at the time. All that is required for them to be arrested is that they were in control of the vehicle. If the driver has the keys in their pocket and is just sitting in the driver’s seat, they’re considered to be in control of the vehicle and can be arrested. If they already have a conviction on their record, they could face a felony DUI, even though they weren’t driving at the time.

If you’ve been charged with a felony DUI, it’s imperative you seek the right help immediately. DUI Attorneys will be able to review your case, determine what penalties you face, and see what can be done to help you get a better outcome.