When an individual is charged with a third DUI within 10 years of a prior drunk driving offense the individual being charged is facing a felony. This offense is treated extremely seriously and carries penalties of up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Due to the seriousness of these penalties and all other long-term consequences that may occur as the result of a felony conviction, it is imperative anyone accused consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney. A Ft. Lauderdale felony DUI lawyer could protect the rights of an accused individual and ensure that a strong defense is built.
When Do Previous DUI Charges Count Against You?
When our attorneys deal with prior DUIs, we are referring to any and all drunk driving convictions that you have had in the past, regardless of the state in which you were convicted. Even out of state convictions count as priors in Florida. A prior, regardless of where it took place, is always a prior and never goes away and it will count against you if you get another DUI in that same state or in a new state.
Similarly, according to s. 316.193, an individual who has been convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI—regardless of when the previous drunk driving charge took place—will also be guilty of a third-degree felony. In this situation, a person faces up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. For a fourth or subsequent DUI, the fines may not be less than $2,000. In addition to the jail time and/or fines, the convicted individual must pay for an ignition interlock device to be approved by the local law enforcement department upon all vehicles owned or leased either individually or jointly by the convicted individual (when the convicted individual qualifies for a permanent or restricted license). A lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale could describe how previous DUI charges could elevate an offense to a felony.
Aggravating Factors in Felony DUI Cases
While previous DUI charges are typically what elevate a drunk driving offense to a felony, there are other aggravating factors that could impact a case. For example, any person who, while driving under the influence, causes serious bodily injury to another, commits a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. Additionally, if the offender who has caused serious bodily injury is a habitual or violent felony offender, they may face punishment as prescribed in s. 775.084. Other aggravating factors that might elevate a DUI charge to a felony include driving with a BAC of 0.15% or higher, having a minor in the car, reckless driving or excessive speeding, and causing property damage. A Ft. Lauderdale attorney could help someone facing a felony DUI build a defense if any of these factors are present in their case.
Contact a Ft. Lauderdale Felony DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for or charged with aggravated drunk driving, you should contact Leifert & Leifert immediately. Our Ft. Lauderdale felony DUI lawyers could build your defense and protect your freedom. This type of charge needs to be taken seriously, so do not hesitate to schedule your consultation today.