When is a DUI a felony?

When is a DUI a felony?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | blog, D.U.I.

Everyone knows DUIs are serious business, and our state takes these offenses seriously. Yet not everyone knows that sometimes, DUIs can turn from bad to worse; meaning, from a misdemeanor to a felony.

What are DUIs?

If you drive a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and get caught, the police can arrest you for a DUI.

It is dangerous because it can lead to accidents and hurt people. In fact, it is a common reason for many deaths on our highways and roads across the country.

Misdemeanor vs. felony

Most times, a DUI is a misdemeanor in Alabama, which is a less serious crime. However, under certain circumstances, the authorities can upgrade the charge to a felony, which makes it a much more serious crime.

When does a DUI become a felony?

A DUI can become a felony in one of many ways, some of which are listed below:

  • The person gets caught several times for the same crime, especially during a short period of time.
  • The person who is driving under the influence gets into an accident and kills or seriously harms someone.
  • The person who is driving under the influence is driving with children in the car. There does not need to be an accident for it to be a felony. The simple act of driving a child while impaired is enough.

Why does this matter?

The distinction between misdemeanor DUI and felony DUI is important because, in the latter, the consequences are much harsher. This means:

  • Longer jail sentences
  • Larger fines
  • Permanent marks on your record

In addition, having any of these offenses on your record can make it difficult for you to get a job, rent an apartment, buy a house or get student loans.

Drinking and driving is a common topic, and everyone knows about it, but many people do not understand the small amount of alcohol that can cause someone to be above the legal limit or the seriousness of the consequences. Just because you feel good enough to drive does not mean you should be driving.

DUIs can, many times, turn into felonies, and that is a serious situation with big consequences, so it is best to stay safe and sober when you are behind the wheel. If you find yourself in this situation or know someone who is, however, contact an attorney immediately.