Felony DUI Attorney in Los Angeles
Specializing in DUI cases, we have successfully handled over 500 felony DUI cases. As Los Angeles felony DUI attorneys, we understand how frightening the process can be when you are facing years in prison. We utilize our extensive experience and expertise to develop cutting-edge defense strategies that have successfully helped hundreds of people who have been arrested for a felony DUI.
What Constitutes a Felony DUI in Los Angeles?
A felony DUI is the most serious type of DUI. Most DUIs are misdemeanors which means that the maximum jail time is one year, though most people with misdemeanor DUIs will never receive any jail time. A felony DUI arrest can happen in three different scenarios:
Types of Felony DUIs
Four DUIs within a ten-year period: The fourth DUI will be filed as a felony and the maximum punishment is three years in prison (assuming there are no other aggravating factors).
Injuring someone with DUI accident: The DA will file a felony if the injuries are anything more than minor. Even soft tissue injuries like bruising and soreness on the victim typically brings about felony charges. Serious injuries like broken bones bring about an enhancement known as the great bodily injury enhancement which can add three or more years to your maximum prison sentence, and cause the conviction to be a “strike offense” under the CA three-strikes law.
Previously convicted of a felony DUI: If you get arrested on any other DUI in the future (even a minor one without an accident and low BAC level), the DA will file it as a felony subjecting you to several years in prison.
What Happens When You Get a Felony DUI?
Felony DUI Defense With Hart Levin
Felony DUIs are extremely high risk and high stakes. The prospect of going to prison for several years is not to be taken lightly. We have successfully handled hundreds of felony DUI cases and in over 90% of cases, the client does not receive prison time. If you are facing serious felony DUI charges, call our Los Angeles DUI lawyers now for a free consultation to discuss your options and the best strategy to secure your future.
Felony DUI FAQs
Four DUIs in ten years is an automatic felony, even if the previous DUIs were expunged. It’s important to note that a previous DUI charge that was pled down to a wet reckless will still be counted as a DUI for purposes of making it a felony on the fourth DUI arrest. The wet reckless is priorable just like a normal DUI.
Most felony DUIs can be expunged or removed from your record. If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you will typically be placed on probation for a period of three to five years. Once the probation is finished, we can typically petition the court to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor (known as “17b”) and then expunge it altogether so the conviction is removed and the case will show a not guilty result. In felony DUI cases where the result is state prison instead of probation, expungement is not available but there are other avenues to remove the conviction, though they are more difficult. Expungements are fairly simple and there is no reason to leave a conviction on your record when you are eligible for expungement. In some cases our clients need to have a case expunged before their probation is completed. In these cases, we petition the court for an early termination of probation and conduct hearings to demonstrate to the judge why our client deserves to have probation terminated early. Once it’s terminated, we expunge it immediately.
If the injuries are not serious, in many cases we can have the felony dismissed and instead get a misdemeanor DUI with very minimal punishment. We have several strategies we utilize to demonstrate that the injuries do not justify a felony conviction, including verifying medical records, using investigators to check into the truthfulness of the victim or showing that the injury was related to a pre-existing injury.
If the felony is based on an accident with injury, the DMV typically suspends your license for one full year. This is the case whether or not the DUI is reduced to a misdemeanor DUI with injury or remains a felony DUI with injury.
– Prison time starting at sixteen months and up, especially higher with significant injuries.
– Huge fines and restitution owed to the victim(s). The courts are generally very generous in ordering felony DUI drivers to pay victims for medical bills, missed work and any other expenses they claim. Some claims can go above $100,000 and the court will require that the driver finish paying the victim before probation can expire.
– DUI classes ranging in length from 3 months to 30 months. The average is about 18 months on a felony DUI.
– Drivers license suspension from one year all the way up to a decade of no driving.
– Community labor (CalTrans) or community service (usually through a nationally recognized non-profit organization).
– Strike offense – if the DUI is a strike, it will remain on your record permanently and will greatly enhance any future punishments you receive for new cases.
– Deportation and immigration consequences – a felony DUI conviction poses a huge risk to one’s ability to remain in the US if not a US citizen.
– Professional license revocation — If you maintain a professional license (nursing, accounting, law, etc), your ability to work in your desired profession is at risk as the licensing board will typically take severe action against the felony DUI driver
– Background check – It becomes very difficult to find future employment, to remain employed, to rent an apartment or clear any kind of background check.
A felony DUI is a life-changing event that must be addressed quickly and aggressively in order to preserve your freedom. We have an excellent track record of success in preventing our clients from going to prison and losing their livelihood. Call us now to discuss your case, free of charge.