Felony DUI Lawyer San Diego
Most driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in San Diego are misdemeanors, punishable by no more than one year in county jail, but there are some specific instances in which a prosecutor can pursue felony DUI charges, which can result in much more severe penalties, possibly including a state prison sentence of 16 months, two, three or four years. If you or a loved one is facing felony DUI charges in San Diego or the surrounding areas, you probably realize by now that the stakes are higher than ever. When it comes to protecting your freedom and your future, there is no substitute for experience. Contact our reputable and knowledgeable DUI defense lawyers at Sevens Legal, APC as soon as possible to begin strategizing an effective drunk driving defense.
Reputable San Diego Felony DUI Lawyer
San Diego Felony Offense DUI
- Prior convictions – DUIs are priorable offenses in San Diego, which means each subsequent DUI occurring within ten years of one or more previous DUI convictions carries a more serious punishment. If you are arrested for a DUI within ten years of three or more DUI or DUI-related convictions that took place in California or any other state, the new offense could be charged as a felony.
- Prior felony DUI – If you have a previous felony DUI conviction on your criminal record, a subsequent DUI will also be charged as a felony offense, regardless of the circumstances of the case. Even if the new DUI offense would ordinarily be charged as a misdemeanor, a prior felony DUI conviction automatically makes the new offense a felony.
- Injury or death – If your alleged DUI results in serious bodily injury or death to another person other than yourself, the prosecution may choose to charge your DUI offense as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. If a felony DUI is pursued, the criminal charges you face may include DUI with injury, DUI vehicular manslaughter or DUI second-degree murder.
Driving Under the Influence
What many people don’t realize is that you can be charged with DUI even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit of 0.08%, so long as the police have reason to believe that your driving was impaired by alcohol. Under California Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC, the “subjective” standard for DUI in San Diego, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. This law defines being “under the influence” as having your physical or mental abilities impaired to such a degree that you are no longer capable of operating a motor vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person under the same or similar circumstances.
Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or Higher
The California DUI law people are most familiar with is California Vehicle Code § 23152 (b) VC, which makes it a crime “for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.” This law sets forth the “per se” definition of DUI in San Diego – operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
What to Do After a Felony DUI Arrest
The process of being arrested for and charged with drunk driving can be incredibly intimidating and frightening, especially if you have little to no experience with the criminal justice system, but it is important to remember that no matter how serious your situation may seem, you still have important rights, including the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. The latter means that you are not obligated to answer any questions posed by the police without your attorney present. The police may act like they are on your side and say they only want to help, but in reality, their main objective is to gather evidence that the prosecution can use against you in court.
Any DUI arrest in San Diego can be overwhelming and stressful, but if you are arrested for a DUI with injury or another DUI offense that could result in felony charges, it is more important than ever to understand what lies ahead of you and how you should proceed. If you have been arrested for an aggravated DUI in San Diego, hiring the right DUI defense attorney could mean the difference between possibly spending years in prison and walking away with your freedom intact. Contact an experienced defense lawyer as quickly as possible after your arrest and you will greatly improve your chances of getting a favorable outcome in your case.
San Diego Felony DUI Penalties
- 16 months, two, three or four years in state prison,
- Three to five years of formal probation,
- Up to $5,000 in fines, plus other fees and costs,
- License revocation for five years,
- Payment of restitution to victims,
- 18 or 30 months of DUI classes,
- Habitual Traffic Offender designation for three years, and/or
- Participation in an alcohol rehabilitation program.
There are certain so-called “aggravating” factors, or extenuating circumstances, that, if relevant to your case, can result in increased penalties for a San Diego felony DUI conviction. These include the following:
- Speeding or driving recklessly
- Causing a motor vehicle accident
- Having a BAC of 0.15% or higher
- Driving on a suspended license
- Refusing to submit to a chemical test
- Having a minor under the age of 14 in your car
- Violating your probation
- Fleeing from a police officer
California’s Three Strikes Sentencing Law
There is a habitual offender law in place in California known as the “Three Strikes” sentencing law, which is designed to impose more severe criminal penalties on individuals convicted of multiple serious or violent felony offenses. If you have one previous serious or violent felony on your record and you are convicted of an aggravated DUI in San Diego, you could face double the prison sentence otherwise required under the law. If you have two or more “strike priors” on your record, a subsequent aggravated DUI conviction could result in a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years to life.
San Diego Felony DUI Defense
- You were driving under the influence of alcohol or with a BAC of 0.08% or higher,
- While doing so, you acted negligently or broke another law in addition to DUI, and
- Your negligence or unlawful act caused injury to another person.
Best Defense Strategies for a Felony DUI
All San Diego DUI cases are different, especially felony DUI cases, which can involve any number of aggravating factors, such as causing injury or death to another person or having prior felony convictions, which is why you need an attorney on your side with experience handling all manner of DUI cases, including felony DUI, DUI with injury and DUI drugs. A good DUI defense attorney will have a clear understanding of DUI law and how it applies to your case and will be able to craft a strong defense after analyzing every aspect of your case. Depending on the circumstances of your case, some potential felony defense strategies your attorney can present in court include the following:
- Your DUI arrest was illegal
- You did not cause the accident
- False positive alcohol test results
- You were not driving the vehicle
- The injuries sustained do not constitute great bodily injury
- You do not have prior DUI convictions
- The police violated your Miranda rights
- You were not intoxicated or impaired at the time of the accident
How Our San Diego Felony DUI Lawyers Can Help
Contact a San Diego Felony DUI Defense Attorney
Our Clients Say
“Samantha Green was great handling my case. She got me from a misdemeanor to a fraction. Im happy with that. She also kept me updated on my case and i never had to call her for an update. I would definitely use her again and recommend her to people.” – Amanda K.
At Sevens Legal, APC we pride ourselves on our commitment to prompt responses to our potential clients and clients. Your case is very important to us and we will respond to you as soon as possible.
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