It is not always easy to know whether a crime is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. There are a number of crimes that will be considered a misdemeanor and others that will be considered a felony, depending on the circumstances. As such, it is unsurprising that many do not know if and when a DUI is considered a felony.
Drunk driving is one crime that is considered a misdemeanor when it is a first offense. However, if a defendant has previous DUI convictions, then subsequent charges could be elevated to the felony level.
Since some people choose to drive drunk often and have been caught more than once, it should be expected that when they are caught driving under the influence for a third time or more, they will be charged with a felony DUI. If a person is convicted of DUI for the third time, the punishment will likely be harsher than it was for the first or second convictions.
Of course, this punishment will depend on the state laws and the judge. As a result, just because a defendant could receive the maximum amount of time in prison or a fine, it is also possible that a less severe punishment may be handed down. If a person has a knowledgeable attorney representing them, they may be able to avoid the maximum sentence.
An attorney can examine the circumstances of the charge and develop a strategy aimed at helping the defendant get his or her best possible outcome. An effective strategy may help get DUI charges reduced or even dropped.