Handling a Felony DUI Charge
Under certain circumstances, a DUI can be charged as a felony. If you are facing this type of felony charge, you should handle it exactly the same way as you would handle a non-felony DUI charge – by contacting an experienced DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible to start working on an effective legal defense strategy for your case. A DUI conviction on your criminal record cannot ever be expunged. It can also subject you to high fines, surcharges, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension or revocation. In many cases, individuals convicted of DUI are also required to complete drug and alcohol education courses.
A felony is a more serious charge than a misdemeanor. When you are convicted of a felony, you can potentially face years in prison and fines in the thousands of dollars. Treat every DUI charge seriously and remember, you always have the right to fight your charge in court.
When a DUI is Charged as a Felony in Florida
An individual may be charged with DUI if he or she is accused of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit. For drivers over 21, the legal limit is 0.08 percent. For drivers under 21, it is 0.02 percent. For individuals driving commercial vehicles, it is 0.04 percent.
In Florida, a DUI can be charged as a felony under the following circumstances:
- It is the individual’s third DUI charge within a 10-year period;
- The individual is facing his or her fourth or subsequent DUI charge;
- The individual caused an accident that led to another party’s death; and
- While driving under the influence, the individual caused an accident that caused one or more others to suffer severe bodily harm.
Penalties for a Felony DUI Charge
When a driver kills another party because of his or her drunk driving, the offense is charged as a DUI manslaughter. This is a second degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and up to 10 years in prison. When an intoxicated driver leaves the scene of an accident that resulted in another party’s death, he or she faces a first degree felony charge. The penalties for this conviction are a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
One’s third DUI charge in 10 years, fourth DUI overall, or any instance of driving under the influence that results in serious bodily injury to a victim is a third degree felony. An individual convicted of a third degree felony faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Work with an Experienced Miami DUI Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a DUI charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony-level DUI charge, fight it with help from an experienced Miami DUI defense lawyer. Having your charge downgraded or dismissed can save you thousands of dollars in surcharges and fines, keep you out of jail, and keep you driving your vehicle. Contact our team at Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.