If you've been charged with DUI, it's important to know if you've been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Both carry serious consequences, but a felony can affect your life for far longer. Here's what you should know about when DUIs become felonies and how to reduce your charges.
What's the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
Generally, a misdemeanor is a less serious crime that results in a jail sentence of up to one year. A felony is a more serious crime that could land you in prison for years. Felonies may also have higher fines or longer periods of time on probation. Having a felony on your record can also lead to losing civil rights, such as the right to vote, as well as being barred from many types of jobs.
Is a DUI a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
A DUI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Most DUIs are misdemeanors. A DUI only becomes a felony if there are aggravating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances can include prior DUI convictions, being intoxicated well over the legal limit, or causing an accident with serious injuries or death. In most places, there are different degrees of DUI that are different levels of misdemeanors or felonies depending on the exact circumstances.
How Is It Possible to Avoid a Felony DUI?
There are two main ways to beat a felony DUI. The first is beating the charges. You can beat the charges by proving you were innocent of the aggravating factors that raised the charge to a felony, or you can find a mistake in how the police handled the case so that the judge excludes evidence against you and the prosecutor can't prove the case. The second way to avoid a felony is to try to arrange a plea bargain where you plead guilty to a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
What's the Difference Between a Misdemeanor DUI Lawyer and Felony DUI Lawyer?
All lawyers are technically lawyers and can handle any type of case. However, because the stakes in felony cases are higher, felonies usually get handled by more experienced lawyers who have a track record of winning cases and know what to look for to give you a higher chance of winning.
To learn more about how to beat your DUI and why it's so important to keep felony charges off of your record, contact a local felony lawyer today.