Although driving under the influence is a serious charge with potential criminal penalties, it is usually a misdemeanor offense. However, some circumstances could lead to felony charges for intoxicated driving. If convicted on these charges, you would have a criminal record as a felon, which could deprive you of professional opportunities and negatively affect your future.
Consult a local criminal attorney immediately to discuss a defense strategy for elevated DUI charges. A Bridgeport felony DUI lawyer at Ruane Attorneys could work tirelessly to achieve a favorable outcome for your case.
What Makes a DUI Charge a Felony?
The act of driving while intoxicated is an unspecified misdemeanor in most cases. However, certain conditions elevate the offense to a felony. Having legal representation in felony DUI cases is critical.
Repeat DUI Offenses
A DUI charge within ten years of a prior conviction is a felony charge. The potential penalties for a second offense include a two-year prison sentence, of which the driver must serve at least 120 consecutive days.
If a driver has multiple prior DUIs and the current charge comes within ten years of one of the prior convictions, it is considered a third DUI, even if the other convictions happened more than ten years ago. The potential penalties include a three-year prison sentence, of which the driver must serve at least one year.
According to Connecticut General Statute §53a-60d, a driver could face a Class D felony for involvement in a DUI-related accident resulting in serious injuries. If the accident caused a death, the driver could be charged with manslaughter with a motor vehicle under Connecticut General Statutes §53a-56b. Vehicular manslaughter is a Class C felony.
The felony charge would apply even for a first offense. The potential penalties include up to five years in prison for a Class D felony and up to ten years for a Class C felony. When the stakes are this high, anyone accused of a felony DUI in Bridgeport needs representation from a lawyer.
Defenses to Felony DUI
A Bridgeport attorney could raise various defenses to felony DUI allegations. Investigating the circumstances of the arrest and police procedures often reveals evidence to help defeat or reduce a felony charge.
Prosecution Based on BAC
If the prosecution bases the charge on the results of a chemical test, the defense could assert that:
- The equipment used to collect the sample was improperly calibrated, poorly maintained, or malfunctioning
- The officer administering the test did not have proper training or did not follow best practices and procedures
- The laboratory that analyzed the sample has a record of false, misleading, or unreliable results
A felony DUI attorney also could claim that the police department did not adhere to the proper chain of custody procedures, and the sample could have been tampered with or contaminated.
Evidence of Impairment
When a driver refuses a chemical test, the police must present evidence proving their impairment. An examination of police dashcams or body video sometimes reveals that the police did not have probable cause to justify an arrest in a specific case. A Bridgeport lawyer could challenge the arresting officer’s recollections and testimony regarding the supposed evidence of impairment.
Proof Intoxication Caused an Accident
If the charge relates to a DUI accident that caused injuries or death, the prosecution must prove that the accident happened because of the driver’s intoxication. Legal counsel could present evidence of another cause to weaken the prosecution’s case. Evidence challenging the proof of the driver’s intoxication also could be effective in these cases.
Trust a Bridgeport Attorney to Handle a Felony DUI Charge
A conviction on felony charges could significantly impact the rest of your life. Give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome by working with an attorney at our firm.
A Bridgeport felony DUI lawyer at Ruane Attorneys is prepared to build an effective defense to the charges. Call us today to discuss your case in a consultation.