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A DUI may be one of the most severe offenses you could face a charge for in California. Whether at the misdemeanor or felony level, DUI could lead to several short- and long-term consequences that may impact your life negatively for years to come. Even your first DUI could be challenging to move past, as there may be obstacles to having it expunged; and expungement doesn’t completely take away the ill effects of such a conviction.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in San Diego, you should know that there are four circumstances in which your DUI may be a felony charge. If you’re unsure of how to proceed after an arrest, contact Attorney Dod of Dod Law for thorough and honest legal advice that can help you get through this challenging time in your life. Attorney Dod has many years of experience fighting DUI and related charges in San Diego, and can develop a strong case on your behalf to protect your rights and fight for a positive outcome.
4 Ways a DUI in California Could be a Felony Offense
Fourth DUI Conviction in Ten Years
If your latest DUI charge is your fourth DUI in 10 years, you will likely face a felony charge, although the prosecution may choose to pursue a misdemeanor charge in the rare event that there were mitigating circumstances, or your charges were negotiated to a misdemeanor from a felony as part of a plea bargain.
What counts as a prior DUI?
Any DUI in the past, including DUIs from other states, moving violations involving alcohol — like a wet reckless or careless driving involving alcohol — may count as a prior DUI. Out-of-state convictions must be at the same level as a California DUI or the equivalent of charges that would have sustained an alcohol conviction in California.
Expunged DUIs also count as prior DUIs. Your Prior DUI is calculated based on the date of the offense rather than the date on which the court convicted you of DUI.
You Were At Fault in an Accident Resulting in a Serious Injury
To be charged with a felony DUI for an accident resulting in a serious injury, you must have been under the influence of alcohol while driving or had a BAC of 0.08 or higher and violated a traffic law or driven in a negligent manner.
The vehicle violation or breath of your legal duty to exercise due care must have been a substantial factor in causing the accident injury. A serious accident injury does not have to be a paralyzing injury nor a brain injury; it may involve any injury for which the victim sought medical care.
You Were At Fault in a DUI Crash that Resulted in a Fatality
If you caused a fatality while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (or your BAC was 0.08 or higher), you will likely face a charge of vehicular manslaughter. The prosecution must prove the following to gain a conviction:
- You drove under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- You committed a misdemeanor or infraction or other unlawful act that likely lead to the victim’s death
- The act was committed with negligence or gross negligence
- A person died because of the negligent act
You Have a Prior Felony DUI on Your Record
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI after having received a felony DUI charge, you will face a subsequent felony DUI charge whether or not you hurt anyone as a result of the most recent DUI. As stated, a felony DUI may result from:
- A serious injury or a fatality
- Receiving a 4th DUI in 10 years
If you’re facing any felony DUI charges in San Diego, seek quality representation right away.
Contact Dod Law for Quality DUI Defense in San Diego
Attorney Dod of Dod Law has more than 16 years of experience practicing criminal defense in San Diego, California and nearby areas. He has handled more than 6,500 cases, including 75 jury trials. Dod is also uniquely qualified by the California State Bar to resolve serious capital offenses, including murder charges for clients with multiple convictions.
You can rest assured that Attorney Dod will provide quality representation, as he is deeply involved in the criminal law sphere in San Diego. He is a member of the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association and the National College for DUI Defense. Call 619-814-5110 for a free consultation with a San Diego DUI lawyer or complete our contact form