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Why driving under the influence can get you a felony

A felony DUI is more severe than a typical DUI, because most are misdemeanors. If you meet certain circumstances in your case, your misdemeanor charge could be elevated to the felony level, though.

What are the reasons for a misdemeanor charge for DUI to be raised to a felony?

If you have an elevated blood alcohol concentration, then you may be at risk of a felony DUI. If you test with a BAC of .16 or higher on average, you could be charged with a felony DUI instead of a misdemeanor DUI. Even if you aren't charged with a felony, the higher your BAC, the harsher the penalty in most states.

Bodily harm is another cause for a DUI to be raised to a felony. For example, if you're driving and strike a pedestrian, you caused bodily harm and can be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. This isn't always the case, though, so your attorney can help you fight for a misdemeanor instead.

If you have been arrested and convicted for DUIs in the past, then this time could be when you're charged with a felony DUI. The amount of times you can receive a misdemeanor before a felony varies, but it's possible that the second time you're stopped could result in a felony charge.

Finally, if you're stopped when you're driving drunk but don't have a license or have one that's suspended, you could be in serious trouble. This usually makes your case a Class 4 felony that could result in up to three years in a state prison.

Source: FindLaw, "Felony DUI," accessed April 22, 2016

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