Is a DUI a felony? Understanding the Severity of DUI Charges

Determining whether a DUI/DWI is classified as a misdemeanor or felony relies on certain factors.

Across most states, a DUI conviction, even for a first offense, typically falls under the category of a misdemeanor. However, there are situations where a DUI charge may escalate to a felony.

is a dui a felony

Elevating DUI Charges to Felony Status

A Felony DUI is a serious legal charge that can result from certain circumstances surrounding a DUI offense. Typically, DUI offenses may be classified either as misdemeanors or felonies, contingent upon the gravity of the circumstances.

In most cases, a first DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor. However, if a DUI incident leads to the death or serious injury of another individual, it is likely to be treated as a felony, regardless of whether it’s the offender’s first offense. Additionally, in cases where a DUI-related accident results in a fatality, the driver may also face charges of vehicular homicide.

Furthermore, prior DUI convictions can also escalate a DUI charge to a felony. Some states classify first- and second-DUI offenses as misdemeanors, but a third or subsequent conviction is treated as a felony.

Moreover, certain states may deem a DUI a felony if the driver had an exceptionally high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or was transporting children while driving under the influence.

Comprehending the Differences Between Misdemeanor and Felony DUI

When it comes to DUI charges, the disparity lies in the severity of the consequences upon conviction. Misdemeanor DUI offenses usually entail a maximum of one year behind bars and fines of up to $1,000. On the other hand, felony DUI charges can lead to imprisonment for a year or more, along with substantial fines. Additionally, the period of license suspension for a felony DUI conviction tends to be longer compared to a misdemeanor conviction. Furthermore, a felony conviction may entail additional penalties, such as the forfeiture of voting rights.