No matter where you live, drunk driving is considered a serious offense. Every state has different laws regarding DUI as well as whether or not the offense is classified as a misdemeanor or felony.
In all 50 states, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content, or BAC, is .08 percent or higher. For drivers under the age of 21, however, the BAC level is much lower. In some states, even if your BAC is lower than .08 percent, you may be charged with DUI if it can be proven that your driving ability was affected by alcohol consumption.
A first drunk-driving offense is typically charged as a DUI misdemeanor. However, there are certain circumstances, such as causing an accident or possessing an extremely high BAC level, which may lead to a felony charge.
In most states, a driver can be charged with a felony for a fourth DUI offense. However, some states classify a second or third offense as a felony.
What is the difference between a DUI misdemeanor and a DUI felony?
The penalties for a misdemeanor are not as stiff as a felony. A DUI misdemeanor is punishable by less than a year in a county jail, while a DUI felony is punishable by a year or more in a state prison.
The penalties for a DUI misdemeanor depend on many things. If this was your first offense, you may be sentenced to probation, community service, and fines. Your driver’s license may also be suspended by the department of motor vehicles as well as the criminal court. In some cases, the judge may require you to attend alcohol counseling and treatment classes.
There are other factors that can lead to more severe punishments. If you have had prior offenses, had an extremely high BAC, or transported a child while intoxicated, you may face more mandatory jail time as well as higher fines.
Have you recently been charged with a DUI misdemeanor? If so, you should contact a qualified DUI defense lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can discuss your case and the options that are available to you.