When is a DUI Considered a Felony?

If the police officer pulls you over under the suspicion of drunk driving, you will face DUI charges. Some of the signs they look for include speeding, not following traffic signals, swerving, and more. If they notice any of them, they will pull you over to determine whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or not.

Many people believe that DUI charge is a minor offense. However, it carries severe penalties, even for just a first or a second time. Fees and penalties become worse for more serious drunk driving accidents, and for repeat offenses.

DUI is a crime, not just a driving offense. If you get convicted, it will go on your criminal record. It is probably not necessary to mention that it could have an adverse impact on your professional, educational, and financial opportunities in the future. For example, many employers don’t want to hire individuals with a criminal record. They choose upstanding citizens instead. If you want to avoid having limited job opportunities, you should avoid drinking and driving. Always consider other alternatives, such as calling a cab, or having a friend pick you up, instead of operating your vehicle. Not only a police officer could charge you with DUI, but also you could injure someone.

Is Drunk Driving a Felony?

The most common question people in this situation ask is whether a DUI is a felony or not. However, the answer is not simple. Drunk driving laws vary from one state to another. Each of them has its laws. Usually, a first time DUI is a misdemeanor, but there are a few exceptions.

If you are driving drunk, and injure someone, your drunk driving arrest will be raised to a felony, even if it is your first time. Also, if there are grounds for believing you were reckless, or negligent, in addition to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will face the same charge. If you injure someone, you could be charged with vehicular assault, while if you kill a person, it will be considered a vehicular homicide.

If you have multiple convictions of driving under the influence, your DUI will be a felony, instead of a misdemeanor. It varies from one state to another but usually, happens on the 4th DUI conviction.  In Washington, DC., there is not a category for a DUI Felony, regardless of the number of drunk driving convictions.

Your blood alcohol level can also have an influence on whether your offense is a felony or not. For example, if your BAC is considerably above the legal limit, the court will consider it evidence of negligence, and charge you with a felony.  You must contact an attorney who specializes in DUI, not a general practice lawyer.

How many DUI convictions does it take for a felony?

We already know that it depends on the state. For example, your second offense will become a crime in Indiana, New York, Oklahoma, and Minnesota. It takes three convictions in Arizona, Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Vermont. Your DUI will become a felony after the fourth offense in following states: Arkansas, Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Hawaii, Montana, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Tennessee. Finally, it takes five offenses to face a felony in Washington.