Criminal Defense in Orange County

When is a DUI a felony in Orange County?

Driving under the influence (DUI) has become one of the top priorities for law enforcement officers and prosecutors across the country. In their efforts to make roadways safer, authorities have become very aggressive in arresting motorists they suspect are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As such, it's not uncommon for most people to know of someone who has been convicted for DUI, or who has a DUI conviction themselves.

While DUI may be one of the more common criminal offenses, it is in no way less serious. A typical first time DUI charge packs serious penalties, including large fines, hefty fees and fines, and the long-term consequences that come with having a conviction on one's record. Although a majority of DUI cases are misdemeanors, there are certain circumstances where drivers can face felony DUI charges – as well as enhanced penalties.

California Felony DUI

In California, there are several ways a driver may face felony DUI charges. These include:

  • DUI Causing Injury ­– Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causing an accident that injures others may subject you to felony DUI charges, depending on the unique circumstances involved. Impaired driving causes many preventable injuries each year, and authorities and prosecutors are intent on setting examples. Drivers who cause injuries while impaired can face stiff penalties, including lengthy license suspensions or revocations, and up to four years in state prison.
  • DUI Causing Death – DUI causing death, also known as vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, is most often prosecuted as a felony offense. This is the most serious DUI charge, as it involves impaired drivers who cause fatal accidents. If gross negligence is involved, convicted individuals can face up to 10 years in prison for this charge.
  • 4 th DUI – You may face felony charges if you are arrested for DUI and have 3 prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years. Out of state DUIs and wet reckless convictions may be considered a prior DUI conviction. The penalties for receiving a fourth DUI within 10 years include a four year license revocation and sixteen months, two years, or four years in state prison.
  • Prior Felony DUI – Drivers who have been convicted of a felony DUI offense – for any reason and at any time in the past – may also face felony charges if arrested for DUI for any reason. This means that even if your charge is not typically a felony level offense, you can still face felony DUI charges for having a prior felony DUI on your record.

Regardless of the specific charge, felony DUIs are serious allegations that demand the attention of a skilled and experienced attorney. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, Attorney Gibbs has more than 30 years of experience protecting the rights, freedoms, and futures of clients facing DUI charges, including even the most serious. To discuss your case with an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer, contact our firm today for a free consultation.