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How does a DUI become a felony?

Just Criminal Law

Curious about how a DUI can become a felony? In this video, we’ll dive into the legal aspects of criminal defense, felonies and DUI charges.

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Speaker 1
00;00;00;01 – 00;00;00;23
Hi, everyone. Today we’re going to talk about how a DUI becomes a felony. This is Christina Williams with Just Criminal Law.
Speaker 2
00;00;08;10 – 00;00;09;08
And David Mann, Legal Storytelling Specialist. Well, we have told many stories and talked quite a bit about DUI’s and what happens at the stop. And I think it just bears mentioning that the vast majority of the time, those are misdemeanors. And now we’re talking about what it’s going to take to push that into a felony. And when you and I talked earlier, it turns out there are three ways that can happen. The first of which is that it’s your fourth DUI in 10 years, is that right?
Speaker 1
00;00;40;04 – 00;00;43;03
Right. So DUI is an enhanced crime, meaning your first offense. There’s no mandatory jail time. Your second offense, you have to serve at least seven days in jail. And your third offense, you have to serve at least 30 days in jail. And your fourth offense in ten years is a felony. And with that, comes all of the terrible consequences of being a convicted felon.
Speaker 2
00;01;05;15 – 00;01;07;19
Hmm. So that’s quite a few rights. Like, your gun rights go away. And you can’t vote. And remind us what goes along with being a felon.
Speaker 1
00;01;14;15 – 00;01;16;01
Yeah, those are the two big ones. You can’t hold public office. And then it affects your reputation in the community. A lot of times when you’re applying for loans or rent space, or maybe you’re a professional, the just being a felon really damages how others look at you and it just makes life more difficult.
Speaker 2
00;01;38;22 – 00;01;41;09
Hmm. Okay. So getting a fourth DUI in ten years is one of them. I also read that getting a second DUI in five years, but you’ve got someone under 16 in the car with you. Do you see that one very much?
Speaker 1
00;01;54;06 – 00;01;57;27
Right. You’re accurate in noticing that. But no, I have to say in all my time being a criminal defense attorney, I’ve not seen that. So that’s good.
Speaker 2
00;02;05;15 – 00;02;06;24
That’s probably good. If people aren’t going around 16-year-olds or under in their car and getting a DUI. So that’s two of them. The third one is that it causes death or bodily injury.
Speaker 2
00;02;17;02 – 00;02;19;10
Right. And so that’s an aggravated vehicular homicide. And the state really has to prove it’s a very serious offense. But the state has to prove not only that you’re unable to safely operate a vehicle because you’re either over the legal limit or you’re under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. But they have to also then, additionally, prove that because of your intoxication, that was the cause of death of someone else. And so, when you’re in a vehicle and you get into a crash, sometimes that is, in fact, the other person’s fault. And so in order for the state to convict you of that very serious charge, they have to prove the important link between your intoxication and the death of the pother person.
Speaker 2
00;03;08;26 – 00;03;11;10
So what would be an instance in which, a death or serious injury has happened and you were driving and hit them and it wasn’t your fault?
Speaker 1
00;03;18;28 – 00;03;20;10
Well, say, for instance, you’re under the legal limit. You’re not a .08 but the state is saying you couldn’t safely drive because there was an accident involved here. It’s really terrible weather and you’re driving down the interstate and there’s whiteout conditions and the car in front of you is actually almost stopped in the middle of the lane, and you come up on them and you’re not really able to see them clearliy either. And you run into the back of them. Now, that accident happened and it happened partially because that person was stopped in the lane of travel in front of you. And so the state’s going to have a hard time proving that, even if you’re under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, that that was the cause of the death of the person in the car in front of you.
Speaker 2
00;04;08;29 – 00;04;10;12
That’s good to know. So if someone gets a DUI and, particularly, if it’s their fourth or under these really horrendous conditions like we’re talking about here, they’re going to be pretty scared. I mean, they’re facing some serious jail time and some serious consequences, but it’s important for them to know what their options are, which means they’re going to have to consult a lawyer. And how would they get in touch with you to do that?
Speaker 1
00;04;36;02 – 00;04;36;20
Sure. Anyone facing a DUI is feeling a lot of pressure and anxiety. And whether it’s a felony or just a misdemeanor DUI, they really need a good attorney and they can contact us by clicking the link in the description. They can call, text, or chat with a member of my team, any time, day or night. Here at Just Criminal Law, we know you only get one shot at justice. So make yours count!

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