Is a DUI a Felony?
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested for driving under the influence, or DUI, you may be wondering if DUI is a felony or a misdemeanor. In Florida, DUI is a charge that can be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case. Regardless of whether your specific DUI is a felony or misdemeanor, we know from our extensive experience as DUI lawyers in Miami that prosecutors often treat even misdemeanor DUIs as seriously as they do felonies.
Throughout the State of Florida, DUIs are prosecuted under Florida Statute 316.193. Under Florida Statute 316.193, a driver can be arrested for DUI if they are caught driving or in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any chemical substance, which includes illegal drugs, legally prescribed drugs, and over-the-counter medications.
Much to most people’s surprise, a driver’s blood-alcohol level does not have to be 0.08% to be charged with DUI – their blood-alcohol level can be under the legal limit. The state attorney only needs to prove that the defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle was impaired by drugs or alcohol, or a combination of the two.
Types of Felony DUIs in Florida
- Third DUI within 10 Years
- Fourth DUI
- DUI with Serious Bodily Injury
- DUI Manslaughter
First and second DUIs without serious bodily injury or death are misdemeanor DUIs. Even DUIs with property damage are considered misdemeanors. It is possible to get a third misdemeanor DUI, as long as the charges are spaced out far enough in time. A fourth DUI will likely be charged as a felony. While not rising to the level of a felony, other factors in misdemeanor DUI arrests that affect the handling of the case include: whether there was a child in the car at the time of arrest; drugs present; open container of alcohol in the vehicle; and whether there was a crash/accident.
Call an Experienced Miami DUI Lawyer Now
When your liberty is at risk because of a DUI arrest, don’t wait to call a DUI lawyer. DUIs are serious charges, regardless of whether they are misdemeanors or felonies. If you would like a free consultation with a DUI defense attorney in Miami, call our office at (305) 440-5160. We have handled hundreds of DUIs, and we want to use our experience to get you the best possible results.