Driving-under-the-influence (DUI) cases can either be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. How a drunk-driving case is classified is dependent on a number of different factors, including the number of priorable offenses, whether injury to another person occurred, and whether a minor was in the vehicle. Being charged with a felony DUI is a serious offense and one that often results in serious penalties being imposed. While it is important that individuals who are charged with drunk driving to consult with a Napa DUI attorney, it is critical for individuals charged with felony DUI to do so.
Felony DUI Defined
The California Vehicle Code 23152 defines a misdemeanor drunk-driving offense as one that does not result in bodily injury to a third party. Under California's Vehicle Code 23153, it states that:
“Any person who, while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and any drug, drives a vehicle and when so driving does any act forbidden by law or neglects any duty imposed by law in the driving of such vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than himself, is guilty of a felony.”
Also, a drunk-driving offense may be charged as a felony if it is a third or more misdemeanor DUI offense within a ten-year period, or if it can be established that the driver committed any other illegal act or neglected a legal duty of some sort. Penalties for felony DUI convictions include hefty fines and court penalties, lengthy jail sentences, and more.
Consequences Following a Felony DUI Conviction
In addition to the penalties that are imposed as a result of a DUI conviction, there are other consequences that follow a DUI conviction. These are:
- Loss of Civil Rights — In some instances, felony convictions result in one's relinquishing the right to vote or run for a political office.
- Loss of Credibility — Convicted felons are often not allowed to serve as jurors or even provide testimony as witnesses in a court proceeding.
- Loss of Right to Own a Firearm — Individuals convicted of a felony are prohibited from owning a firearm under California legislature.
- Loss of Professional License/Career — A number of professions prohibit the employment of and licensing (or renewal of licensing) to individuals who are convicted of a felony. Such professions include attorneys, doctors, insurance agents, military, law enforcement, and those with state and federal government agencies.
Knowledgeable Napa DUI lawyers are sometimes able to negotiate favorable plea bargains for clients who face felony DUI charges, thereby reducing the charges to misdemeanor DUI.
If you are facing a subsequent DUI charge, you need a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney by your side. At the Napa DUI law firm, we offer online Napa DUI case reviews. Contact us today to discuss your legal options.