Criminal Defense in Orange County
What is a Felony DUI?

Orange County Felony DUI Lawyer

Was your drunk driving offense charged as a felony?

Most drunk driving offenses are charged as misdemeanors, the class of misdemeanor will vary based on the details of your offense. Although a majority of DUI cases are misdemeanors, there are certain circumstances where drivers can face felony DUI charges – as well as enhanced penalties. In some severe cases, a DUI can be charged as a felony.

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.

If you have been arrested and charged with felony DUI, you will need aggressive defense. The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs can provide you with a skilled Anaheim criminal defense lawyer to defend against these charges. With DUI offenses, you will not only have to face criminal penalties, but administrative penalties such as license suspension and ignition interlock installation as well.

DUI Involving Injury or Death

California Vehicle Code § 23153 defines the criminal offense of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol resulting in injury. Drivers who operate a motor vehicle with alcohol or drugs in their system and then cause an accident in which someone else is injured can be charged with felony DUI in Orange County. In accidents where another party is seriously injured, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to require the driver to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. In order for this type of charge to stand, there must be verifiable evidence that the victim suffered a serious bodily injury.

California Penal Code § 191.5 subsection B defines the criminal offense of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol resulting in death. According to the statute, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought in the driving of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The death must have been the proximate result of the DUI car accident. DUI manslaughter is punishable by county jail imprisonment for up to one year or pursuant to § 1170 of the California Codes for 16 months, two or four years.

Those who are deemed "habitual offenders" for DUI will likely face felony offenses for their third or subsequent offense within ten years. In some scenarios, those who do not have prior DUI offenses but rather have prior "wet reckless" or related reckless driving offenses may face felony DUI charges upon their third or subsequent offense within a ten year period. If you have committed a felony DUI in the past, know that any future DUI offense, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor, can be charged as a felony because of your prior offense.

Contact an experienced, trusted law firm today!

The importance of hiring an attorney for your Orange County felony DUI case cannot be stressed enough. If you or someone you love has been arrested in Orange County, get in touch with a DUI lawyer from The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs today. Lead Attorney Barney Gibbs has more than 35 years of experience in the local criminal justice system. He knows the courts, he knows the DUI statutes and he knows how to creatively apply the law to your case for your defense.

We provide free case evaluations to any and all that are interested and are in need of legal counsel. Our firm will fight to see that clients get their charges either significantly reduced or dismissed outright.


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