Being charged with drunk driving is already an unpleasant situation to be in. Although many states consider a standard DUI charge to be a misdemeanor. Even so, as we have seen before, even a first offense in Arizona can result in jail time. Furthermore, certain conditions can elevate a charge to the level of felony. This means harsher penalties and more abiding consequences. However, the rules vary from state to state, so it is important to be aware of the rules in your home state.
As is explained in more detail here, some of the conditions that could elevate the status of your charge include the following:
- If you have been previously convicted of the offense on multiple occasions within a designated time period, you may be charged with felony DUI.
- Driving on a license that has been revoked, suspended or restricted may also constitute a felony.
- If you cause another person to suffer bodily harm, the charge may be raised to a felony.
- Driving under the influence while there are children in your vehicle is considered a felony in many states.
Having an elevated blood alcohol content can also lead to a felony DUI. Although the legal limit is 0.8 percent, many states will elevate the DUI charge if the driver's BAC is above a particular level. This is often around 0.16 percent. In some states this will constitute a felony, although others simply impose harsher-than-usual penalties.
If you are faced with a DUI or felony DUI charge, it is important to act quickly as it could permanently tarnish your record. An attorney may be able to help you ensure the court hears your side of the story. This in turn may increase your chances of avoiding conviction.