While most individuals understand that being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious charge with serious consequences, many are confused about what the different levels of DUI charges actually are. Is a standard DUI charge considered a misdemeanor or a felony? Depending on the facts surrounding the case, it could be either a misdemeanor or a felony charge.
When it comes to felony DUI charges, the most common factors include:
- Drivers having a number of previous DUI or “wet reckless” (depending on the state) convictions on their criminal record within that state’s “lookback” period
- Drivers having a previous felony DUI conviction
- Drivers, being drunk or drugged, causing injury or death to another individual
Without one of the above factors or similar factors being present, a standard DUI charge is often considered a simple misdemeanor charge even if property damage is present.
What Evidence is Reviewed in a DUI Case?
When examining the evidence in a DUI case, there are a number of scientific principles and studies that are considered including drunk driving detection, arrest, and blood alcohol testing. Knowing what these factors are and understanding how they apply to your DUI case is important for developing a defense for the court room. With any DUI case, several of these factors play off one another – this is very different from many other criminal charges. Some of the evidence that is reviewed includes:
- Why the officer conducted a traffic stop
- How the suspect/defendant acted during this traffic stop
- If there is any video footage available from the officer’s body or dash camera
- If there is any evidence available from field sobriety testing
- If there is any evidence available from chemical testing from Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), either blood, urine, or breath
- What the driver’s BAC was based on the administered chemical testing
- Any evidence indicating the suspect/defendant was too impaired to operate his or her vehicle
Choosing an Attorney
When individuals are arrested and charged with DUI, they should not contact just any criminal defense attorney. In these cases, it is very important to choose a lawyer who is well-versed and even specializes in DUI law. These legal professionals have extensive knowledge of the drinking and driving laws in the state in which the violation took place and are able to help defendants craft a defense that should ensure them the best possible outcome for their case.