In Los Angeles, DUI is a “wobbler” offense, which means you could be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor if you are accused of this crime. So what is the difference between misdemeanor and felony DUI?
Misdemeanor DUI in Los Angeles
Though it is punished less severely than a felony, a misdemeanor DUI conviction is a very serious crime.
Usually, you will be charged with misdemeanor DUI if it is your first offense and there are no aggravating factors involved, such as causing an injury to a person.
Misdemeanor DUI can be punished by:
- A maximum of six months in county jail;
- A fine of up to $1,000;
- Informal probation for up to five years;
- Mandatory participation in a drug and alcohol education program for three or nine months; and
- Suspension of your driver’s license for six to 10 months
Misdemeanor DUI is a “priorable offense,” meaning that you could face stricter penalties if you were previously convicted of DUI within 10 years of your current offense.
Felony DUI in Los Angeles
DUI is typically charged as a misdemeanor. However, you could be charged with felony DUI if you:
- Caused a bodily injury or death to a person;
- Have a previous felony DUI conviction; or
- Have three or more previous DUI or wet reckless convictions of any grade within the last 10 years
The potential punishment for felony DUI is very harsh. If convicted, you face:
- Up to three years in state prison;
- Fines between of up to $1,000;
- Revocation of your driver’s license for four years; and
- Designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender by the DMV for three years
Your sentence can also be enhanced if you caused “great bodily injury” to another person as a result of driving under the influence. Great bodily injury includes broken bones, impairment or loss of function of a bodily organ, severe lacerations or burns, concussions, or any other significant physical trauma that required medical care.
If you caused such an injury, the prosecution can request that an additional three years be added on to your sentence. Thus, if you were sentenced to three years on a felony DUI, you would serve a total of six years in state prison with this enhancement.
However, you may be able to fight felony DUI charges by hiring an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney.
Speak to a Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one is charged with felony DUI, you are facing strict penalties. You should speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately.
At Wallin & Klarich, our team of attorneys has been successfully defending clients like you in DUI cases for over 35 years. Our tireless dedication to help our clients can help you obtain the best possible outcome to your case. Let our knowledgeable attorneys help you today.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina and Ventura, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.