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When is a DUI Considered a Felony?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

November 23, 2020

How is a Felony Charge Determined?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is typically only classified as a misdemeanor offense. Still, there are some instances in which this charge can be upped to a felony. If this is your third or greater DUI charge within ten years of having a second one, the court will likely conclude this is a felony offense, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

However, perhaps one of the quickest ways to get a DUI upgraded to a felony charge is if someone was injured or died because of your driving under the influence.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges

Getting charged with a felony comes with pretty serious consequences that can negatively impact the rest of your life. Understanding the differences between the penalties associated with a misdemeanor versus felony charge can be a crucial deterrent for those considering driving under the influence.

The penalties for misdemeanor charges in Florida include the following:

  • A driver’s license suspension of up to one year.

  • A jail sentence of up to six months.

  • A fine of no more than $1,000.

  • DUI school.

  • DUI probation

When a DUI is upgraded to a felony offense, penalties could include:

  • If it is a third or fourth offense within ten years, the offender will receive a prison sentence of up to five years in prison. The fine may be up to $5,000.

  • If the offense resulted in serious bodily injury, the offender receives the same penalties as above. The court may also order the offender to pay restitution to the people he or she injured.

Vehicular Manslaughter

One of the most significant ways that someone can get felony charges for a DUI is by vehicular manslaughter or when a fatal car accident occurs as the result of driving under the influence.

The court may decide to impose additional penalties on someone charged with this, including:

  • Up to 15 years in jail

  • Up to $10,000 fine

  • Restitution for loss of life

  • Payment of any medical or funeral expenses associated with the accident

Arrested on DUI Charges? Call (954) 840-8713

Having a DUI on your record can negatively impact the rest of your life – from job opportunities to education to housing. If you have been charged with a felony DUI, contact our skilled Broward criminal defense attorneys to schedule a consultation. Our team will vigorously defend your rights to achieve the best possible outcome for your unique case.