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California DUI Felony v. Misdemeanor

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Under California law, a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can be charged in one of two ways: (1)a misdemeanor or (2)a felony. A driver is often charged with felony DUI when there are severe injuries involved, while misdemeanor DUI usually involves no bodily injuries. In regards to sentencing, misdemeanor convictions usually result in high fines and restrictions on driving. A felony DUI conviction can include prison time, high fines, and loss of one’s driver’s license. However, no matter what you have been charged with you need a qualified California DUI attorney to represent you.

The California Vehicle Code and DUI

California Vehicle Code 23152 is the section under which a misdemeanor DUI is charged and prohibits any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug to drive a vehicle. It further prohibits any person who has 0.08 percent or more of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

California Vehicle Code 23153 is the code section under which a felony DUI is charged. A person is charged with felony DUI when under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug drives a vehicle and concurrently does any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle. In order to be charged with felony DUI, the drivers conduct must cause bodily injury to another person.
Similarly, a driver is charged with felony DUI when having 0.08 percent or more of alcohol in his or her blood drives a vehicle and concurrently does any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.

Lastly, you can be charged with felony DUI if you have three or more convictions for DUI or if you already have a prior felony DUI.

The California justice system takes DUI charges very seriously.

What Should I do if I’ve Been Charged with DUI?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and a person was injured, you could be charged with felony DUI. The severity of the charge and the sentencing associated with such charges are broad and depend on the scope of the injury. Obviously, the more severe the injuries the more likely one is to be charged with felony DUI over the misdemeanor charge.

This is why it is always important after a DUI related accident to contact an attorney who can immediately assess whether or not there were injuries and determine the extent and severity of the injuries suffered. Sadly, especially during these tough economic times, people may exaggerate the extent of their injuries or purposely lie about their injuries in order to take advantage of DUI offenders. In our area, aid from a qualified Santa Rosa DUI attorney is paramount to ensure you are not taken advantage of and to guarantee that all your legal options are fully explored.

Our experienced California DUI attorneys understand good people make mistakes. We are committed to doing all we can to win your case and protect your family from criminal and financial penalties. If you face these charges anywhere in the North Bay area, be sure to seek out our Santa Rosa DUI attorneys to protect your interests.

See Related Blog Posts:

California DUI Basics
California Sobriety Checkpoints
Drunk Driving in Santa Rosa – The Facts

Our firm is headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, but we offer DUI legal services to clients in Santa Rosa, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Petaluma, Windsor, Glen Ellen, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Kenwood , Clearlake, Lakeport, Kelseyville and throughout Sonoma County, Mendocino County and Lake County.

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