When Does DUI Become A Felony Crime?

When Does DUI Become A Felony Crime?

May 01

In most instances, driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a misdemeanor charge. However, there are certain cases when DUI can become a felony charge. When the charge is raised, it usually carries stiffer penalties and sanctions. According to the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, DUI charges can have serious and long lasting consequences.

In order for DUI to become a felony, there are certain factors that should be met. It is worth noting that the rules for what does and what does not constitute felony varies from one state to another. Thus, you should be aware of the laws and procedures for more information. Here now are some of the instances when DUI becomes a felony.

Elevated Blood Alcohol Concentration

The current BAC limit for every state is 0.08 percent so if you exceed that limit, you will be charged with DUI for violation of the law. If your blood alcohol content exceeds the elevated level set by law which is usually .16 percent, then your DUI becomes a felony.

Bodily Harm

In some states, DUI becomes felony if the driver causes bodily harm to another person. In other states, the prosecutors can decide whether DUI that causes bodily harm can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Still, there are other states where the plaintiff must prove that the defendant caused the injury. If another driver runs into the defendant while at a stop sign and gets injured, the intoxicated driver did not cause the bodily harm so DUI remains a misdemeanor.

Previous Convictions

If the defendant has been convicted several times for DUI within a certain period of time, then he will be charged with felony DUI. The number of previous offenses and the time period will vary from one state to another.

Children in the Vehicle

In some states, there is a law that elevates DUI to felony when there are children on the vehicle. The law was enacted after 11-year old Leandra died when her friend’s mother crashed her car while driving under the influence. Known as Leandra Law, the rule applies when a child less than 15 years old is involved in the accident.

Driving with a Restricted, Suspended, or Revoked License

In some states, DUI is elevated into felony if the offense is committed while the defendant has a restricted, suspended, or revoked license.