A Gradual Escalation or a One-Time Incident
When you are arrested for a DUI in Virginia, it can be charged as either
a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony, being the scary word that is, does
accurately depict the severity of this charge. Those charged with a felony
may be looking at serious jail time with a number of other losses of freedom
that persist long after your jail sentence.
How Could I Know if it’s Being Charged as a Felony?
In Virginia, most DUIs are misdemeanors. In fact, the first two DUIs usually
are charged this way. However, when an individual collects his or her
third DUI, the court system treats this as habitual offending, and punishes
it as a felony. Each DUI after the third will also be charged as a felony,
each with increasing prison time and harsher consequences, perhaps even
losing the ability to obtain a Driver’s License for the rest of
In addition to the number of DUIs, the following factors may turn a misdemeanor
DUI into a felony DUI, even if it is an individual’s first offense:
- Great bodily harm
- Severe property damage
- Child Endangerment
- Vehicular manslaughter
How Much More Severe is a Felony Charge than a Misdemeanor?
These are the common DUI charges, wherein an individual is simply pulled
over, discovered by a police officer to be over the legal limit, and then
the normal process ensues. Penalties for a first or second offense include
a relatively short jail sentence, manageable fines, and mandatory classes
and programs. At a certain point, the misdemeanor may fall off of your
record, and it could be as though the incident never happened.
When an individual’s third DUI is charged as a felony, he or she
will face years in prison, fines reaching tens of thousands of dollars,
and three or four years without the ability to obtain even a restricted
license. If an individual is facing a felony DUI that caused great bodily
harm or even death, prison sentences can reach decades, and that individual
will then lose the right to vote or international travel. Additionally,
this offense will forever be a blemish on any background check.
Let Our Firm Fight These Charges
There is hope in all cases to reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor or
perhaps even have the charge dropped due to lack of evidence. While we
cannot promise any particular result, we can assure you that we will devote
all of our efforts and resources to your vindication. Contact the Law
Offices of Daniel J. Miller today.