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Misdemeanor DUI vs. Felony DUI

Posted by attorney Jonathan Rands

Normally DUI is a misdemeanor, especially if it's a first time DUI offense. However, under certain circumstances a DUI charge falls into the felony category. These circumstances are when:

  • You have multiple prior DUI offenses
  • You are arrested for DUI at the scene of an accident where another person is seriously injured (vehicular assault) or death (vehicular homicide) of another is a result of the accident, and proper blood alcohol testing shows your blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more
  • You have previously been convicted of killing or injuring someone while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug

Misdemeanor DUI convictions tend to have lighter penalties, such as:

  • a period of probation
  • fines
  • alcohol education
  • license restrictions
  • community service

By contrast, felony DUI convictions have severe penalties:

  • significant jail time
  • heftier fines
  • longer period of probation
  • alcohol education programs
  • prolonged period of driver license suspension

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