What To Do If You Have Been Charged With Felony DUI
A DUI conviction can change a person’s entire trajectory in life. Even first-time offenders will face penalties that result in disruptions to every-day life. When the case involves felony DUI charges, know the consequences are much more severe, and it is essential to work with an attorney who has experience fighting back against these charges.
At Chastaine Jones, we have represented countless felony DUI clients at trial. We understand how to build a defense that protects what is important in your case. Whether you need to keep your license for your job or need to revisit a prior conviction to potentially remove the felony charge, we are prepared to assist you the assistance necessary to defend your rights and your future.
Understanding The Serious Nature Of Felony DUI Charges
A felony DUI has some special circumstances, certain elements that need to be present that move a case into the felony category. Factors that may lead to felony DUI Charges Include:
- More than three DUI convictions in the past ten years (If the conviction is out of the state, it is still considered as a prior conviction; Wet reckless conviction in any state)
- High BAC levels of 0.15 percent or higher
- Children are present in the car while you are drinking
- Accidents resulting in injuries or death to passengers or occupants of other vehicles
- Exceeding speed limit over the mandatory speed limit
- Rejecting giving blood, urine, or breath test
- Previous convictions on DWI, OUI or OWI
Once the prosecution has decided to seek a felony DUI charge, the consequences of a conviction are profoundly serious. Penalties for a felony DUI include, but are not limited to:
- Jail or prison sentences of one year or longer
- High fines and court costs
- Loss of license and increased insurance costs
- Driving classes when seeking future reinstatement of license
- Ignition interlock devices
- Community Services
In California, if an injury involved with the DUI offense, even the first offense felony DUI is subject to minimum 90 days in prison. A felony DUI may be punished with up to 3 years in state prison.
If a granted probation is given, there are still mandatory local jail sentences.
If a DUI causes, death or serious injury, you can be charged three different ways:
- Under California Vehicle Code 23513 VC-driving under the influence causing serious injury, or
- Under Penal Code 191.5 – manslaughter, or
- With DUI second-degree murder. This is also called a “Watson Murder” after the California Supreme Court case People v. Watson. If a driver is under the influence and causes a deadly accident, according to Watson Murder, the driver can be convicted of second-degree murder.
Additionally, those convicted may face other consequences as well. Felons may have difficulty finding work, as some occupations will be off-limits to those without a clean driving record. Living arrangements may also prove challenging, as many places may not rent to felons, or banks may be reluctant to give out loans.
Expungements May Be Available
We may be able to revisit prior DUI convictions to have them removed from your record. This could prevent you from facing the serious consequences of a felony conviction. Our attorneys will review your case to see if you qualify for an expungement in California. This is a highly complicated process, and it is essential that you work with a team that understands what steps to take at this time.
Contact Us Today To Learn More
If you are facing felony DUI charges, you need an experienced law firm to help you determine the best approach to take in your case. Reach out to our lawyers now by calling 916-894-8431 or by sending us an email to arrange a time that works for you.