Most Sacramento DUI charges are considered misdemeanors. However, in some cases, circumstances dictate an escalation of the drunk driving charge to a felony. Felony DUI cases can be very complex and the conviction penalties can be much more severe. DUI with injury is a felony offense, as is a fourth DUI offense and cases of vehicular homicide.
If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a felony DUI arrest in Sacramento or nearby areas, the Law Office of John Campanella is very experienced in the defense of clients facing charges of felony drunk driving. Mr. Campanella knows how to break down each case into its component steps, in order to provide the best possible representation, attend DMV hearings on your behalf, and to expose weaknesses and flaws in the traffic stop, questioning, testing, arrest and detainment stages.
Sacramento Misdemeanor Charges vs. Felony DUI
A misdemeanor is a greater offense than an infraction (for example, red light violation), but a lesser than a felony charge. Each of these charges carries an increasingly serious potential penalty. Whereas a misdemeanor may carry a punishment of up to one year in jail, a felony may have a minimum punishment of one year in prison. Some of the more serious DUI felony offenses may result in many years of confinement in a state facility, even life in prison or the death penalty.
Felony DUI Sentencing has a lower, middle and upper term for the court to select in sentencing. If you are not granted probation then lower term is 16 months, middle term is 2 years and upper term is 3 years. However, felony DUI sentences can be longer than 3 years if there are additional enhancements alleged such as; Great Bodily Injury or multiple parties were injured.
While it is unlikely that a felony DUI offense would result in the death penalty, a convicted driver may face up to four or up to 10 years confinement in state prison for a more serious charge – vehicular manslaughter, for example. Even a fourth DUI conviction may draw a sentence of up to three years in prison. DUI causing injury may draw a three year sentence, with additional three years added in the event of serious bodily injury to the victim.
When felony DUI may be charged in California?
In California, a felony DUI may be charged under several circumstances, including:
Fourth DUI Offense: If an individual has three prior DUI convictions within a 10-year period, they may be charged with a felony for any subsequent DUI offense.
Injury or Death Caused: If a DUI results in injury or death to another person, the driver may be charged with a felony.
Prior Felony DUI Conviction: If an individual has a prior felony DUI conviction, they may be charged with a felony for any subsequent DUI offense.
It's important to note that the specific circumstances of each case can impact whether or not a felony DUI charge is filed. The penalties for a felony DUI conviction in California can include significant fines, a lengthy prison sentence, and a driver's license suspension or revocation. Additionally, the offender may be required to attend a court-ordered alcohol treatment program and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
Felony DUI Charges in California
In California, a DUI can be charged as a felony if it is a fourth DUI offense within 10 years, if the DUI caused injury or death to another person, or if the driver has a prior felony DUI conviction.
The punishments for a felony DUI in California can be severe and can include:
Imprisonment: A felony DUI conviction in California can result in a state prison sentence ranging from 16 months to 16 years, depending on the specific circumstances of the offense.
Fines: A felony DUI conviction can result in fines of up to $5,000 or more.
License Suspension or Revocation: A felony DUI conviction can result in a driver's license suspension or revocation for an extended period.
Probation: A judge may impose probation as part of the sentence for a felony DUI conviction, which can include community service, mandatory drug or alcohol treatment, and other requirements.
Ignition Interlock Device: An offender may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, which requires them to pass a breathalyzer test before starting the car.
Felony Record: A felony DUI conviction can result in a permanent criminal record, which can have significant consequences for the offender's future employment and personal life.
The specific penalties for a felony DUI conviction in California can vary depending on the circumstances of the offense and the offender's criminal history.
How long is felony DUI probation in California?
The length of felony DUI probation in California can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the offense and the terms of the probation. However, felony probation in California typically lasts for a minimum of three years and can be extended up to a maximum of five years.
During probation, the offender may be required to comply with certain conditions, such as attending alcohol or drug treatment, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, submitting to regular drug or alcohol testing, and avoiding any further criminal activity.
If the offender violates any of the terms of their probation, they may face additional penalties, including revocation of probation and incarceration.
The length and conditions of felony DUI probation in California can vary based on the individual circumstances of the case and the discretion of the judge.