If you’ve been arrested on DUI charges recently, you may have considered asking a Miami Criminal Lawyer any number of questions. One of these might be, “When is driving under the influence a felony?” If your circumstances have involved any one of the following, it’s an important question:
- You have prior convictions of DUI on your record.
- While under the influence, you caused an accident and the accident caused serious injury or death to others.
If one or more of these apply to you, it’s natural to ask such questions.
The answer depends on many factors. It might put your mind at ease to know that most, though not all, of the DUI charges in Miami are misdemeanors. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Miami have dealt with hundreds of DUIs. But let’s take a look at a misdemeanor DUI example before we discuss the question of DUI felonies.
If, in an accident, a driver causes personal injury or damage to property, the offender will be charged a first degree misdemeanor, and can be punished by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. In this situation an aggressive Miami Criminal Lawyer works to drastically reduce the penalties.
WHEN ARE DUI CHARGES FELONIES?
DUI violations can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies in the state of Florida. The driver only enters into the territory of a felony if they are repeat offenders or if, through an accident, they have caused serious injury or death.
For some clarity on what a felony means, here are a few guidelines.
A FELONY CONVICTION OCCURS:
- If the driver has previously been convicted of three DUI’s within 10 years.
- After the fourth consecutive DUI, regardless of when these occurred.
- If, while impaired, the driver has caused another person serious harm, or
- Taken someone’s life because of their impaired state.
In the first of the two cases above, the felony is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, or sometimes both. If you stand to face any of these punishments, it’s vital that you contact an experienced criminal attorney in Miami without delay.
MANSLAUGHTER DUI CHARGES
DUI Manslaughter is a second degree felony in Florida. This offense is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, or in some cases both. Our Miami criminal law firm has been successful in reducing many of these more severe charges.
A Note On Driving With Suspended Licences
Because of the sheer number of cases, a Miami criminal attorney worth their salt would find necessary to mention the issue of driving with a suspended license after a DUI. Please note that doing so can land you in hot water. The punishment for such a crime is severe and at times more harsh than the underlying DUI itself.
We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Criminal Lawyer.