If you are facing DUI charges, make it a point to familiarize yourself with the distinction between a misdemeanor and a felony conviction. Felony DUI charges tend to carry higher fines as well as mandatory jail time.
In Pennsylvania, most DUI charges are a misdemeanor. However, there are a few reasons why a DUI could amount to a felony offense.
Impairment and repeat offenses
Getting a second or third DUI does not necessarily trigger a felony-level charge. A third offense is a felony when an individual has an extremely high Blood Alcohol Content. Likewise, refusing to provide a BAC sample during a traffic stop could elevate a third charge to a third-degree felony. A third DUI that involves driving while using controlled substances is a felony.
A high BAC may mean a minimum of one year of jail time for a third or fourth DUI conviction. A conviction may also include an eighteen-month license suspension.
Harm to others
An accident that causes an injury could escalate charges while also subjecting a driver to additional criminal charges. Short of causing someone direct injury, simply putting other people at risk can mean a greater degree of offense. Having one or more passengers under 18 years old at the time of a third DUI will result in a felony charge.
Any type of criminal offense on your record is a serious problem. Getting a DUI is an especially serious offense because it can put your driver’s license in jeopardy. Successfully defeating DUI charges can prevent considerable financial harm.