For more serious drunk driving accidents and repeat offenses, the charge and punishment become much more severe.
If you are a recurring drunk driver or are responsible for a drunk driving accident, you may be charged with a Felony DUI.
Drunk driving is first and foremost a crime, not just a driving offense.
When you are convicted of a DUI, you will have a criminal record, which could hurt your professional, financial, and educational opportunities now and in the future.
A Felony DUI carries similar penalties to a misdemeanor DUI but may also result in a prison sentence and even more limited freedoms.
Causing an Accident While Intoxicated If you drive drunk and cause a collision, you may be charged with a felony.
When you cause life-threatening or life-ending injury to another driver or passenger, or flee the scene of the accident, you are committing an aggravated offense.
Some states will refer to the offense as an Aggravated DUI instead of a Felony DUI, but both are felony charges with elevated sentences.
Felony DUI from Recurring Charges All states have an elevated charge for offenders who commit multiple drunk driving offenses in a set period of time.
In Rhode Island, for example, you may be charged with a felony for your third DUI arrest in five years.
While the first two charges were classified as misdemeanor, the third will be treated as a felony.
All states have a similar law for repeat offenders.
Typical punishment for a Felony DUI conviction includes:
- Incarceration: at least 1 year in jail or prison, depending on the level of intoxication and severity of the accident, if any
- Driver's license suspension: at least 2 years
- Fines of $400 or more
- Vehicle impound and possible sale of your vehicle by the state
- Ignition interlock installed on your car for at least 2 years after incarceration release
- Mandatory DUI education course
- Probation or parole
- Felony conviction on your criminal record
If you are facing a Felony DUI, consider contacting a DUI defense lawyer immediately to begin preparing your defense.
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