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When a DUI Becomes a Felony in California

When A DUI Becomes a Felony in California In California, individuals arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs are most likely to face misdemeanor charges—as long as there were no aggravating factors involved. This is known as “simple DUI,” and it typically remains a misdemeanor on one’s first, second and third drunk driving arrests.

There are some situations in which you could face felony DUI charges, however. If a prosecutor is pursuing felony charges against you, it will be especially important to consult a Los Angeles DUI attorney who has experience handling these types of cases.

DUI Resulting in Injury or Death

If another person—such as a driver, passenger or pedestrian—suffered a serious injury or died as a direct result of your alleged impaired driving, it is likely you will face felony charges. This may come in a number of forms, including:

  • Charges of driving under the influence causing injury under California Vehicle Code 23513 VC
  • Charges of DUI vehicular manslaughter
  • Charges of DUI second-degree murder

The exact charges you face depends on the circumstances of your arrest and the presence of any previous criminal convictions on your record. A DUI would have to be particularly serious, for example, for prosecutors to seek second-degree murder charges. For that to happen, there would likely need to be some presence of reckless driving or a blood alcohol content (BAC) level extremely far over the legal limit of .08 percent.

A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will provide you with more information on the circumstances that could lead to elevated DUI charges.

Multiple DUI Offenses on Your Record

Driving under the influence is a “priorable” offense in California. This means there are harsher penalties with each conviction of a same or similar offense. If you’ve had three or more DUI convictions within the last ten years and a police officer arrests you once again, you are likely to see felony charges.

These prior offenses could include DUIs that occurred in California, out-of-state convictions that would be equivalent to DUI in California or a California “wet reckless” plea bargain, which is essentially a plea bargain to lessen the charges after a first offense.

Prior Felony DUI Charges on Your Record

The criminal justice system classifies all impaired driving-related charges—even simple DUIs without any aggravating factors—as felonies if you have at least one prior felony DUI conviction on your record. Typically, this occurs if you have already had a DUI conviction that resulted in injury or death, or a felony DUI classified as a felony because of multiple prior simple DUIs. There is no 10-year statute of limitations—prosecutors can look back at your entire record to find previous felony DUIs in California.

A conviction for felony DUI could result in serious penalties, including large fines, jail time and a suspension of your driving privileges. With that in mind, be sure to consult a skilled drunk driving defense attorney to ensure you protect your constitutional rights.

Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation With Our Top Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers

The attorneys at the The Omofoma Law Firm Firm are experienced DUI lawyers who can help you fight your charges. As top criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles, we serve clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, including Huntington Park, Alhambra and Monterey Park.

We’re available 24/7 to provide you with a free case evaluation. Give us a call at (213) 455-4050.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I contacted The Omofoma Law Firm looking for some legal advice and was incredibly pleased with what I found. Ese was very responsive, empathetic and understanding. He was able to give me clear advice about my options in a way that was easy for me to digest and understand. Ese was very knowledgable but also able to communicate that knowledge to me in a way that was easy for me to comprehend. I would definitely recommend The Omofoma Law Firm. J.M.
★★★★★
I can surely tell you that Mr. Omofoma is one of the best lawyers in the state. He always worries to solve any situation for his clients. In my case he was professional and efficient. If something came in the manner; Less than 24 hours he got the knowledge, the plan and the solution to overcome any situation. In this matter choosing the best lawyer means everything. J.F.
★★★★★
Superb firm that takes immediate and proactive action in your case. Highly professional, attention to detail, takes the time to explain the process, works hard for a positive and best possible outcome. Ese Omofoma creates a place of safety in what can be an overwhelming situation and scary system. Thank you Ese Omofoma, not just for your outstanding professional expertise and help in navigating the legal system but for your kindness and understanding. Incredibly grateful! P.W.
★★★★★
What a great experience. I was attacked by a dog and found it very hard to find a firm willing to take my case. Omofoma Law, not only took my case right away but I worked directly with Ese, the head of the firm, instead of always dealing with the secretary. The insurance companies would have walked all over me but thanks to the help from Omofoma Law I was able to walk away from the ordeal having all of my medical expenses taken care of as well as a nice settlement. Nik R.
★★★★★
The OMOFOMA Law Firm is Top Notch! Ese is a great Lawyer very easy to talk to and as smart as they come! My wife and I have used his services twice now and both cases resulted in complete success. I really appreciate the way he always kept us in the loop of things and always informed us immediately of any updates or changes. I will definitely use his services again in the future if needed and I definitely recommend The OMOFOMA LAW FIRM!!! Eric M.