Last Updated: May 3rd, 2022 at 8:20 pm
Read Time: 6 Minutes
How many DUIs is a felony in Florida, and are there any circumstances under which a first-time offense can be a felony charge? As experienced DUI criminal defense attorneys, we hear these questions from clients quite frequently. There are several scenarios outside of repeat DUI offenses that can cause the charge to be a felony, which can have long-lasting negative impacts on your life upon conviction.
If you or a loved one are facing either a misdemeanor or felony charge for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida, contact the team at Weinstein Legal today and ask to speak with defense attorney Matt Shafran. Mr. Shafran is an experienced DUI defense lawyer with years of experience defending clients just like you in a court of law.
For more detailed information regarding how many DUIs is a felony in Florida, other extenuating circumstances that can lead to an upgrade of the misdemeanor offense, and a free case evaluation call our firm today. Contact our experienced DUI attorney in Florida, Matt Shafran. Our phones are open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, including holidays so there will never be a time when you are unable to reach an attorney.
How Do I Know If My DUI Was a Felony?
After receiving charges for driving under the influence it is common to have questions. The night may be a bit hazy, and it can be overwhelming to take in so much serious information at one time regardless of the circumstances. You are likely feeling worried, concerned, and perhaps even anxious, fearful, and sad. All of these are normal reactions to receiving charges for a DUI. You may find yourself wondering whether your charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, as well as what possible consequences you may be facing. The team at Weinstein Legal is here to answer all of your questions.
The good news is that, generally, first and even second DUI offenses in the state of Florida are misdemeanor charges unless there is a serious aggravating circumstance. An aggravating circumstance may involve death or serious bodily injury to another human being, or extreme property damage. Additionally, third and fourth DUI offenses are generally felony charges.
The best way to find out if your DUI is a felony or a misdemeanor charge if you are uncertain is to contact Matt Shafran of Weinstein Legal, an experienced DUI attorney in Orange, Palm Beach & Broward County, FL. Your legal team can communicate with the courts and the prosecutor’s office to obtain details surrounding your case, including the precise charges.
Additionally, the courts will schedule a date for your formal arraignment following your arrest. It is at this time when a judge will read your official charges in a courtroom (unless you waive this right, to which your attorney can best advise). At this time, you will enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. For your best chances at having the charges reduced or dismissed, it is essential to have aggressive legal representation fighting on your defense team.
Ways a DUI Can Be Charged as a Felony in Florida
There are generally four circumstances under which the state may prosecute your DUI charge as a felony offense. If you are facing felony DUI charges it is imperative that you have an excellent legal team representing you, fighting to prove your innocence. The penalties can be quite severe upon conviction and can jeopardize many of your freedoms and liberties. However, even if you are a repeat offender or are facing a felony DUI there is still hope. Many individuals see success in court with the right legal team on their side.
Here are four ways that the state may prosecute your DUI charge as a felony offense.
1) This is your third DUI charge in a 10-year span
Even if there are no extenuating factors surrounding your case, no one was hurt and no property damaged, if you receive three separate DUI convictions in a ten-year timeframe in the state of Florida you will likely face felony charges.
The potential penalties of a third DUI conviction within ten years include up to five years in prison or five years of probation and court fines of up to $5,000.
2) This is your fourth+ DUI of a lifetime
No matter how many years have passed since any prior DUI convictions, if this is your fourth offense you will face felony charges. Four-time DUI offenses in the state of Florida are a third-degree felony charge.
The potential penalties are the same as those associated with a third DUI in ten years; five years in prison, five years probation, and up to $5,000 in court fines.
3) Another person sustains a serious bodily injury as a result of your driving
The courts take driving under the influence particularly seriously, as it can cause irreparable harm to other innocent individuals on the road. If your driving, and subsequent DUI, cause serious bodily injury to another person you will likely face a third-degree felony charge. This includes passengers in your own vehicle, other drivers, and pedestrians.
Possible penalties following a conviction include a court mandate to pay restitution to the victim, five years in prison, five years probation, and up to $5,000 in court fines. Additionally, the court may order you to pay restitution to the victim.
4) Another person, or unborn child, dies as a result of your driving
DUI Manslaughter is the most serious charge you can receive for driving under the influence and is a second-degree felony offense. You can only receive this charge if your driving causes the death of another individual or unborn child.
Possible consequences for a second-degree misdemeanor include up to fifteen years in prison, up to fifteen years of probation, and up to $15,000 in court fines, and a court mandate to pay restitution to the victim’s family as well as funeral expenses.
How Can a DUI Defense Lawyer Help With a Felony Case?
If you are facing felony DUI charges, contact Florida criminal defense attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal right away. It may be possible to get your charges either reduced or dismissed entirely, however, you must act quickly. Mr. Shafran has years of experience working with the Florida court system and formerly served as a prosecutor. This means that he is well-familiar with the tactics they may attempt to employ to convict you and can form the best possible defense.
Additionally, the team at Weinstein Legal works with countless professionals, such as private investigators and crash scene investigators. Having these experts on your side may significantly help your case. The other side is working diligently to secure a conviction for your felony DUI; you deserve the same tireless representation working to prove your innocence. You have too much to lose facing the courts alone.
If you have further questions regarding how many DUIs is a felony in Florida, what circumstances could lead for a first- or second-time DUI offense to be charged as a felony, or anything else pertaining to your case, don’t wait to contact Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal. We’ll provide you with a free case evaluation, free of any obligation, and give legal guidance on how to best move forward.
Call (954) 845-0505 and ask for defense attorney Matt Shafran today.