When does DUI become a felony?

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2023 | DUI Defense

Florida takes driving under the influence (DUI) charges very seriously, imposing hefty fines and sanctions for offenders. This violation is usually a misdemeanor, but that is not always true.

Some factors could escalate it to a felony, depending on the details of the DUI incident. These include the following:

  • The DUI driver is a repeat offender. The third DUI offense is a third-degree felony if it happened within ten years of a prior verdict or if it was the fourth succeeding DUI.
  • The DUI crash caused physical injuries.
  • The DUI collision led to death, resulting in a manslaughter charge. This offense could become a first-degree felony if the driver fled without providing aid at the scene.
  • The offender received a charge of vehicular homicide, which is a second-degree felony. It could escalate to a first-degree felony if the DUI driver left the scene.

Sanctions for these crimes could vary on a case-to-case basis. Sometimes, additional charges could increase penalties, including prison time and fines.

Additional penalties for DUI incidents

The court could order specific sanctions based on the crash’s details. Serious DUI felony offenses could result in temporary or permanent license revocation. If the collision happened using a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the driver could lose their qualifications or license to operate.

Other considerations

Additionally, the court would look at considerations that may have affected the DUI charge. Health conditions influencing breath test results and improper stop-and-arrest procedures might lead to inaccurate charges.

Still, the final sentence is up to the court. They will review all aspects of the incident, including the offender’s criminal history, before finalizing the appropriate penalties.