For most people, an arrest and subsequent prosecution for DUI will fall under misdemeanor offenses. While this is still a serious matter, a conviction will eventually allow a person to move forward with their life after paying fines or completing other requirements.
However, other examples of DUI cases are felonies. Here, a conviction will likely result in a jail sentence, heavy fines, a lengthy loss of license, and a criminal record. A DUI case becomes a felony if you have a previous DUI conviction or if the incident involves another person’s injury or death. When the stakes are this high, talk to a New Haven felony DUI lawyer. The legal team at Ruane Attorneys can explain when DUIs become felonies and craft powerful defenses against these harsh accusations.
Factors that May Lead to Felony DUI Charges
Most examples of DUIs in New Haven are misdemeanors. In fact, the law presumes that an arrest for DUI will move forward as a misdemeanor. However, several factors may lead to prosecutors choosing to pursue the case as a felony.
The most common is at least one prior DUI conviction on the driver’s criminal record. Even a single prior conviction in the past ten years could lead to an escalation of charges. However, the prosecutor must prove this prior conviction in court beyond a reasonable doubt; a New Haven felony DUI attorney could help contest these assertions.
The other way that a DUI may become a felony is when another person suffers a serious injury or death in the incident. This can result in simultaneous charges alleging vehicular assault or manslaughter. In DUI cases this severe, working with a New Haven lawyer is crucial to avoid life-changing felony penalties.
Penalties for a Felony DUI Conviction
The state’s core DUI statute is Connecticut General Statute § 14-227a. Under this law, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. A person may violate this law by having a blood/alcohol level of .08 percent or more. They may also face prosecution based solely on a police officer’s observations of intoxicated behavior.
These core concepts apply to all DUI cases, regardless of severity. A felony DUI lawyer in New Haven could work to create reasonable doubt and present effective defenses to juries. These defenses are essential for protecting a person’s future. At a minimum, a felony DUI conviction can result in:
- Fines of between $1,000 and $4,000
- Jail sentences of between 120 days and two years
- Probation and 100 hours of community service
- A loss of license for 45 days
- Installing an ignition interlock device for three years
The penalties for instances resulting in serious injury or death are even more severe. Anyone facing felony DUI charges should consult our local attorneys as soon as possible about the potential consequences and options for defense.
Speak with a New Haven Felony DUI Attorney Immediately
Felony DUI convictions will always have a profound impact on your life. Whether a DUI case is moving forward as a felony because of a prior DUI conviction on your record or because the incident resulted in harm to another person, you need to be proactive in developing a powerful defense.
A New Haven felony DUI lawyer at Ruane Attorneys is ready to help protect your future. We can fully investigate the facts that led to an arrest, obtain any evidence that helps prove your innocence, and present strong arguments in court on your behalf. Contact our firm now to get started.