In the state of California, there are three different reasons for a driving under the influence charge being classified as a felony. Firstly, if a separate vehicle code was violated while driving under the influence and injury or death was suffered by another person, a felony charge can be brought up as driving under the influence causing injury, DUI vehicular manslaughter, or DUI second degree murder. Secondly, multiple misdemeanor DUI convictions can lead to subsequent charges being automatically converted to felonies. Individuals convicted of three or more DUI charges in the previous ten years are likely to be charged with a felony for a fourth incident. For this count, the courts include out of state convictions that would constitute a DUI charge in California even if they did not meet the criteria in the state of occurrence. Thirdly, having a prior felony DUI on record means that any future DUI charges will likely become felony status automatically.




The consequences of a felony DUI charge in California vary depending largely on how it originally came to be classified as a felony. Assuming no injuries were caused, prison time will generally be sixteen months at minimum and can be as long as three years. Fines range from $300 to $1000. Habitual Traffic Offender status (HTO) will likely be placed on your record with the Department of Motor Vehicles, and your license will be revoked for four years.

Punishments are much more severe for felony DUI charges involving injury or death. Depending on the number of injured parties and the extent of their injuries, you could face prison time ranging from 28 months to 16 years. A death associated with a DUI charge can result in lifetime imprisonment and one strike associated with the State of California’s Three Strikes sentencing law. Fines can range from $1000 to $5000. You may be required to participate in an alcohol recovery program. Finally, restitution money may be awarded to all injured persons commensurate with the injuries sustained.

There are several other details that can impact the severity of any penalties associated with a DUI conviction. These are referred to as ‘aggravating factors’ which include: driving at excessive speeds while under the influence, causing a collision, having young children (under the age of 14) in the car while driving under the influence, refusing a blood alcohol content (BAC) test, and having a BAC of 0.15% or higher at the time of arrest.





[push h=”7″Regardless of the nature of your felony DUI case, the attorneys at Okabe & Haushalter believe that everyone deserves a fair trial. We have the experience and confidence needed to handle any felony DUI charge. We are not afraid of challenging cases, and we always fight for the best possible outcome for our clients.The penalties for a felony DUI conviction can irrevocably change your life. Don’t spend the rest of your life in prison; call Okabe & Haushalter today and request a free consultation for your felony DUI case.



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