In the State of California, most DUI offenses involving alcohol or drugs are considered misdemeanors or “simple DUI.” There are, however, some exceptions to this. If certain “aggravating factors” are present in the case, a felony DUI may result. Some of these “aggravating factors” include:
Sometimes, whether or not a DUI is charged at the felony or the misdemeanor level is at the discretion of the prosecution. However, the prosecution has a tendency to seek the strongest possible penalties and situations involving discretion are relatively rare in any case. If any of the situations above apply to you, then it is likely that your DUI charge will be at the felony level.
Because most DUI’s are charged at the misdemeanor level, not all attorneys have experience defending felony DUI charges. It is important that you seek the services of a criminal defense attorney who is willing to get to know all the details of your case in order to develop the most thorough and effective defense possible. It is also important to have an attorney begin working on your case as soon as possible – time is of the essence in all DUI cases, but especially felony DUI.
Sometimes, the fact that an individual has a prior record leads to “overcharging,” so it is possible that you may be facing felony DUI charges when the facts of your case do not warrant it. In order for a DUI charge to be considered a felony, the prosecution must believe the accident was the fault of the person driving under the influence. If the accident was in fact caused by the other driver, then your attorney may be able to argue that the charges should be reduced or even dismissed.
Even if you are familiar with the legal proceedings for an “ordinary” misdemeanor-level DUI, do not expect that the procedure for a felony charge will be similar. If you are being charged with felony DUI then it is important to acknowledge that the consequences may be even more life-altering than those you are already dealing with.
Many times those who are charged with felony DUI are struggling with substance abuse. We care about our clients and in addition to seeking the best possible result on your case, we will also work to provide you with the resources to deal with your drinking or drug use. We believe that needing help does not make you a bad person, and that seeking help when you need it is an important life strategy.
Seek help if you need it, and contact our firm today for your free and confidential consultation. We will work with you to answer all your questions and come up with a comprehensive defense strategy. We serve all of Orange County.