A Felony DUI in California has one of the following:
- Bodily injury and especially death to another as a result of driving under the influence, which does not have to include a car accident, it can be the result of running a red light or speeding.
- Prior felony dui conviction
- Prior felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
- 3 or more DUI or "wet reckless" convictions on your record within the last ten years, whether from California or out of state.
What happens after an arrest for DUI?
A felony dui in California begins with an arrest. After being arrested, the ideal time to contact a criminal lawyer is as soon as possible, definitely before the arraignment. Criminal lawyers need to start working on your case immediately to get the best results. The sooner the criminal lawyers begin the better, as it is easier to defend against a felony DUI charge much earlier in a case by persuading the prosecutor to file lesser charges.
The arraignment is the first court hearing, after the prosecutor has filed charges. However, in order for criminal lawyers to start building a strong case for you, there is a lot of work that must be done, the beginning of a case for a felony DUI can sometimes be the most important. Criminal lawyers must launch their own investigation with the use of experts and they must also question and investigate witnesses among other things.
The preliminary hearing is when the judge decides if there is enough evidence for a trial. A criminal lawyer may be able to convince the judge that there is not enough evidence to convict the defendant for a felony DUI at this hearing. It is like a trial before a trial, as the judge listens to and makes decisions on the DUI case even before there is a trial. It is extremely important to be represented by a criminal lawyer at a preliminary hearing for a felony DUI.
If the judge decides there is enough evidence for a charge of some sort, then the case moves forward with a trial. A criminal lawyer can also win a case of felony DUI in California at this stage as well.
There are many stages to a case at which a criminal lawyer can win, much depends on the unique characteristics of your felony DUI case and what the best strategy is against the prosecution. Top criminal lawyers know when the best time to hit a homerun is, as winning cases is just as much about timing as it is strategy.
Criminal lawyers know how serious a felony DUI conviction is in California. Though these felony dui penalties are not set in stone, here are some general guidelines.
Felony DUI Penalties in California
- The minimum sentence is 180 days in jail, but you can be sentenced to 4 or more years in prison
- 4 year suspended license
- $3,000 fine
- 18-month alcohol education program
- If it's your third strike, you will be imprisoned for 25 years to life if convicted
- Ineligible for student loans and government assistance programs