Is a DUI a misdemeanor or a felony?

Is a DUI a misdemeanor or a felony?

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | blog, D.U.I.

In Alabama, driving under the influence is a serious offense that can have long-lasting consequences.

According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, there are over 4,000 DUI arrests made in the state each year. If the police arrest you for a DUI, it is important to know how the state classifies it as a misdemeanor or felony.

DUI classification

The classification of a DUI offense depends on several factors, including the circumstances surrounding the incident and the offender’s prior convictions. Generally, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor. However, if certain aggravating factors are present, a DUI is a felony.

Misdemeanor DUI

For a first-time offender without any aggravating circumstances, a DUI is a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor DUI can result in fines, probation, mandatory attendance at DUI school and the suspension of driving privileges. Subsequent DUI offenses within a certain timeframe may lead to more severe consequences.

Felony DUI

A DUI is a felony if certain aggravating factors are present. These factors may include causing serious injury or death to another person while driving under the influence, having multiple prior DUI convictions or driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a prior DUI conviction. A felony DUI conviction carries more severe penalties, including substantial fines, mandatory imprisonment and the potential for a lengthy license suspension.

Long-term consequences

A DUI conviction, whether misdemeanor or felony, can have lasting effects on an individual’s life. It can lead to increased insurance premiums, difficulty finding employment and a criminal record. Additionally, a DUI conviction may impact an individual’s ability to obtain certain professional licenses or pursue educational opportunities.

Regardless of the classification, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be significant and far-reaching. It is always better to call a friend or take a cab home after a night out drinking.