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DUI Penalties: Is a DUI a Felony?

Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) are considered serious offenses. You could be charged with a DUI misdemeanor or a DUI felony depending on your BAC test, whether you seriously injured or killed someone. Another factor that determines your DUI penalty is whether you have had previous DUI convictions. Driving with a BAC of .08 or more is considered above the legal limit in every state, although each state has different DUI penalties and sentencing guidelines.

No matter if your charge is a DUI misdemeanor or a DUI felony; it can have serious consequences on your life. So, it is recommended that you hire a criminal attorney to represent you to make sure that your interests are protected and that you receive the best outcome feasible for your case.

First Offense DUI Penalties

For a first offense, you can expect to receive the following DUI penalties:
  • A minimum 90 day jail sentence to a maximum one year sentence
  • Suspension of your driver’s license from 90 days up to one year
  • Average fines from $500 up to $1,000
  • Probation
  • Community Service
  • Attendance in an alcohol treatment program, a standard DUI penalty
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IDD)
  • Higher insurance rates

Second Offense DUI Penalties

For a second offense, you can expect to receive these stricter DUI penalties:
  • Enhanced jail sentences ranging from two to five years
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to three years
  • Mandatory attendance of an alcohol treatment program
  • Fines ranging up to $5,000, which really makes this DUI penalty a tough one
  • Restitution to victims
  • Probation
  • Community service

Third Offense DUI Penalties

DUI penalties for a third offense can include:
  • Jail time up to five years or more depending on the circumstances of the crime 
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to five years
  • Mandatory attendance in an alcohol treatment program
  • Electronic monitoring or house arrest, an unpopular DUI penalty
  • Fines ranging as high as $15,000
  • Restitution to victims
  • Probation 


Fourth Offense Brings Severe DUI Penalties

More than three DUI/DWI convictions within a 10 year period (with a BAC of .08% or more) answer the question, “Is a DUI a Felony.” Four and more convictions are considered a felony in most states. Enhanced DUI penalties and fines are given along with the permanent revocation of your driver’s license. Having a conviction can also make it harder for you to find a job and have other devastating effects on you and your family.

Zero Tolerance for Minors

Most states have zero tolerance for persons under the age of 21 who are arrested and convicted of DUI/DWI offenses. DUI penalties are harsher and stricter for even small traces of alcohol in a minor’s system ranging from 0.00 to 0.02 percent. If you are a minor, the effects of a conviction and subsequent DUI penalties can have a long lasting impact on your life.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI or DWI, having a team of experienced and skilled criminal defense attorneys representing your interests is crucial to a positive outcome of your case. Imhoff Criminal lawyers specialize in defending clients, and work hard to minimize DUI penalties for each individual case according to its circumstances. At Imhoff & Associates–Criminal Attorneys, we are highly regarded in the community with years of experience successfully defending our clients.

Once more, we will vigorously represent you in order to remove or reduce DUI penalties that you are facing. Our attorneys will review all police and accident reports, BAC and field sobriety tests. Plus, they will investigate and review the evidence looking to see if your Miranda rights or other constitutional rights were violated. They will also interview witnesses and negotiate with prosecutors for either a DUI felony charge or DUI misdemeanor charge to see whether they can be reduced to a lesser crime or can get your case dismissed.


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