In most cases, a drunk driving charge is classified as a misdemeanor offense. However, there are several factors that could upgrade the charge in your case to a felony. These factors might include previous DUI convictions, an extremely high blood alcohol content or causing an accident that results in bodily injury or death.
Did you refuse a chemical test?
If you refuse to take a blood, urine or breathalyzer test, you may face an automatic license suspension. This is generally true even if you aren’t convicted of a DUI charge. As a general rule, you cannot apply for a restricted license during the suspension period. Your attorney may be able to provide more insight as to how violating the state’s implied consent law could impact your ability to legally operate a motor vehicle.
Was your license invalid for any reason?
A DUI charge may be upgraded if you were operating a vehicle while your license was suspended or revoked. The same may be true if you were operating a motor vehicle as an unlicensed driver. In many cases, obtaining a restricted license is contingent on installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. A failure to do so could lead to increased penalties in your case.
Were you on probation for a previous offense?
While on probation, you will likely be prohibited from possessing, buying or consuming alcohol. This is especially likely if you are on probation because of a previous conviction for drunk driving. In addition to facing additional penalties in your most recent case, there is a possibility that a judge will terminate your existing probation agreement. Therefore, you might be required to spend weeks, months or years in jail.
If you are charged with DUI, it may be in your best interests to hire an attorney. He or she may be able to have evidence suppressed in your case, which may result in the charge being dismissed before trial. It may also increase your chances of obtaining an acquittal or favorable plea deal.