FELONY DUI IN CALIFORNIA
Arrested for Felony DUI?
Facing a felony DUI charge in California can be overwhelming. The potential consequences are severe, and the impact on your life can be significant. At our law firm, we understand the gravity of the situation and are committed to providing the best legal defense possible.
When is a DUI a Felony in California?
In California, you can face a felony DUI in 3 ways;
- You have a 4th DUI within 10 years.
- Your DUI caused injury to victim(s) to such an extent that a felony is warranted (even if it is your first offense)
- If you have a previous felony DUI conviction.
The basic difference between a misdemeanor and a felony DUI is that for the latter, you could serve over 1 year in custody.
Did you know that a DUI can result in a life sentence? This can happen when a person has a prior DUI and is deemed to have understood the dangers of DUI, and picks up a new DUI that results in death(s)—a felony. Which is why it is paramount that you contact a DUI specialist if you’ve been arrested for a felony DUI.
3ENALTIES FOR COURT CONVICTION OF FELONY DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE ( VEHICLE CODE §23153 )
Felony DUI Penalties
Minimum and maximum sentences with probation:
Fourth Offense within 10 years
A fine of $390 to $1000 with penalty assessment (multiplied by approximately 3-4 times), a minimum of 180 days and up to 1 year in county jail, attendance in a 18 month alcohol program, and installation of an interlocking device for up to 3 years. As a result of the court conviction, the DMV will revoke your license for 4 years, but a restricted license may be requested with IID for 3 years. Additionally, you will receive 2 points on your driving record.
Potential Consequences of a Felony DUI
The potential consequences of a felony DUI charge are more severe than those for a misdemeanor DUI charge. They can include:
- Fines ranging from $390 to $1000, with additional fees and court costs potentially bringing the total to nearly $4,500.
- A prison sentence of up to four years, plus additional time if any victim suffers great bodily injury or if there are any additional victims that suffer any injury.
- Suspension of your driving privileges for several years.
- Mandatory completion of an 18-month alcohol program.
- Formal probation, which generally lasts from three to five years and requires regular check-ins with a probation officer.
Type of Penalties
In California, if you are convicted of a Felony DUI, you may face the following penalties:
A DUI conviction often involves hefty fines, made up of a base fine plus a 4-5x penalty multiplier.
A DUI is at least a misdemeanor punishable by jail time, which increases with the amount of priors and/or injury caused.
Just being arrested for aDUI will trigger automatic consequences on your ability to drive. Actions taken by the court and DMV can be overlapping and difficult to navigate.
A conviction for DUI will require attendance in a minimum 3-month alcohol program. You may also need to attend such a program to maintain your ability to drive.
Ignition Interlock Device
The IID device will randomly require a alcohol-less breath sample for the car to start and continue runing. It is often required after a DUI conviction and/or an adverse ruling at the DMV Hearing.
This can be ordered/bargained as part of the sentence, or as an alternative to paying fines. Generally it consists of lighter work than Community Labor, but more hours.
Also known as Work Release, this is often required for a DUI with accident, and can sometimes be an alternative to jail (8 hrs. = 1 day jail). An example is picking up trash on the freeway. It consists of harder work than community service, but fewer hours.
An ankle bracelet is often negotiated as a subsitute to jail where the defendant has medical issues or might lose employment due to a long sentence. The wearer is allowed to go to work, but must return home by a certain hour. The device can also detect alcohol.
If convicted of a first DUI, the mandatory period of probation is 3 years. Repeat offenders may face up to 5 years of probation. This probation is informal (ie. no probation officer) unless the DUI is a felony.
FELONY DUI DEFENSE STRATEGIES
Don’t Assume You Have to Plead Guilty
Our Approach to Felony DUI Defense
Jeff Yeh has over 18 years experience in felony DUI defense. We understand the complexities of DUI law and have successfully defended thousands of clients against DUI charges. We will aggressively challenge the DUI arrest and other aspects of the prosecution’s case against you, possibly raising questions about the results of the chemical test or the legality of the initial traffic stop.
At our law firm, we believe in a comprehensive and personalized approach to felony DUI defense. We understand that every case is unique, and we tailor our defense strategies to the specific circumstances of each client’s situation. Here’s a closer look at our approach:
In-depth Case Analysis: Our first step is always a thorough review of your case. We examine every detail, from the initial traffic stop to the moment of your release from jail. This allows us to identify any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and develop a strong defense strategy.
Challenging Evidence: We scrutinize all evidence presented by the prosecution. This includes questioning the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood tests, and the procedures followed during your arrest. If we find any irregularities or violations of your rights, we will move to have the evidence suppressed.
Expert Consultations: We work with a network of experts, including forensic toxicologists and defense investigators, to challenge the prosecution’s narrative. These experts can provide critical insights and testimony that can help to create doubt about your guilt.
Negotiation and Plea Bargaining: While our goal is always to secure a dismissal or a not guilty verdict, we understand that sometimes a plea deal may be in a client’s best interest. We are skilled negotiators and will work tirelessly to secure a plea deal that minimizes the consequences of a DUI.
Trial Preparedness: If your case goes to trial, you can rest assured that we will be fully prepared. We are experienced trial lawyers and are not afraid to take your case to trial. We will present a compelling defense and advocate fiercely on your behalf.
Post-Conviction Support: Our support doesn’t end with a verdict. If you are convicted, we will explore all options for appeal. We can also assist with issues related to probation, license reinstatement, and expungement of your criminal record.
Remember, facing a felony DUI charge doesn’t mean you’re guilty. You have rights, and we’re here to protect them. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you navigate this challenging situation.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one is facing a felony DUI charge in California, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We offer a free initial consultation, and our team is ready to fight for your rights and your future. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and let our decades of experience work for you.
FELONY DUI DEFENSES
Effective Defenses against Felony DUI Charges
1. Challenging Breath Test Results
When a person is still absorbing alcohol, the breath machine will ALWAYS read to high. It is up to your lawyer to show the discrepancy between reality and the reading.
2. No Driving Defense
If there’s no evidence you were operating the vehicle near the time of the arrest, we challenge the fundamental premise of your DUI charge.
3. Illegal Arrest or Stop
We can contest the legality (probable cause) of your DUI stop or arrest, which could lead to dismissal if your rights were violated.
4. Rising Blood Alcohol Level
Alcohol absorption rates vary based on race, sex, time/amount of consumption..etc We argue that your BAC may have risen between the time of driving and the time of testing.
5. Mouth Alcohol
We highlight factors like belching or acid reflux, which can skew breathalyzer results by releasing alcohol from the stomach into the mouth during breath testing.
6. Biased Field Sobriety Tests
We examine the administration of field tests for bias or error that could compromise their validity.
7. Faulty Breathalyzer Calibration
We scrutinize the maintenance and calibration records of the breathalyzer used, disputing results from improperly calibrated devices.
8. No Miranda Warning
Miranda must be given if there is post-arrest interrogation. We pinpoint the time of the actual arrest/cuffing and try to exclude statements made thereafter absent Miranda.
9. Blood Fermentation
If blood vials lack sufficient preservatives, the blood can ferment, leading to higher BAC readings.
10. Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, auto-brewery syndrome, or gerds (acid reflux), can produce falsely high BAC readings.
11. DUI Checkpoint
A DUI checkpoint must be properly set up and maintained, otherwise the stop itself lacks probable cause.
12. Forced Blood Draw
Fedral law requires a warrent for a blood draw unless there is consent. Lacking consent / warrent means the blood result can be excluded.
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Freaqent Asked Questions
I just picked up a DUI and I blew over the legal limit. I’m guilty, so what’s the point of hiring a lawyer?
First of all, being over the legal limit is just the starting point, and all DUI cases that are won involve people who are at or above the legal limit (or they refused). If you were under the legal limit, you wouldn’t even have been cited. Second, just because you feel you are guilty, it doesn’t mean you need to have the full brunt of the consequences crash down on you. With proper representation, things like jail time, license suspension, fines, probation, alcohol school…etc. can be reduced or eliminated, guilty or not.
If I hire a lawyer, is it possible that I will never need to appear in court?
Yes. If you are facing a misdemeanor DUI and nothing else, a lawyer can appear on your behalf without you throughout the entire proceeding. At the DMV, if your testimony is required, you can testify telephonically. If there are any forms you need to sign for court, your lawyer can mail these to you and have you sign in front of a notary. All paperwork that you need can be mailed to you by your lawyer.
I received a letter or voice message from law enforcement asking me to contact them regarding an incident. What should I do？
You should absolutely NOT contact law enforcement yourself. Most of the time this kind of letter is sent when there is not enough evidence yet to charge you, and they are hoping you will help them out by incriminating yourself. Always contact a lawyer first, and if necessary, speak only through counsel.
I was arrested for DUI. Do I need SR-22?
SR-22 is just another term for “Proof of Insurance.” Your insurance company needs to file it for you for 3 years only upon conviction of a DUI.
CALIFORNIA FELONY DUI ATTORNEY JEFF YEH
Call THE DUI SPECIALIST
If you’ve been charged with Felony DUI, it’s crucial that you reach out to Law Office of Jeff Yeh for legal representation. As a dedicated DUI attorney, I have personally handled thousands of drunk driving cases, leveraging my expertise to defend my clients effectively and negotiate with prosecutors to achieve the best possible outcomes. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling me directly at (213) 446 – 2495.