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Is Drunk Driving a Felony?

Imagine you are out to dinner with your family to celebrate a birthday. During the course of the meal, you have consumed a few glasses of wine, but have been careful to drink water and eat food also. On the way home, you find yourself seeing red and blue lights in the rearview mirror.

You pull over and the police officer accuses you of driving under the influence. As unexpected as this may seem, many people in San Diego find themselves in this exact scenario every single week. It is during this time that our trusted San Diego DUI attorney, Mark R. De Yoe, can help guide you through the DUI process including one of the most important questions you my ask:

Is my DUI a felony conviction?

Driving under the influence can carry a range of penalties, including time behind bars, fines, loss of your driver’s license, but the kinds of sentencing you may be facing depends on the criminal charge that has been leveled against you. In general, drunk driving in California is considered a misdemeanor crime but there are certain situations where your DUI can turn into a felony DUI.

You can be charged with felony DUI if:

  1. Another person was injured or died as a result of your DUI;
  2. You have three or more DUI or wet reckless convictions within 10 years; or
  3. You have previously been convicted of a felony.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor DUI and a felony DUI? Importantly, the level of penalties you may be facing. A felony drunk driving charge in San Diego has you looking at sentencing starting at 16 months to three years in prison, up to $1,000 in fines, four year revocation of your driver’s license, and being labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In addition, you may find yourself on probation, being asked to attend drug or alcohol treatment programs, participating in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Program, restitution payments to victims, installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and more.

Contact Attorney De Yoe For The Help You Need Now

With more than 30 years of experience serving San Diego, the DUI defense lawyer at Mark R. De Yoe, APLC has successfully defended numerous clients against felony DUI charges, including one client facing their fourth DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.18. Attorney De Yoe was able to recover house arrest and alcohol treatment, allowing them to save their business career and turn their life around.


Wondering if our firm is right for you? Call today to speak with a member of our legal team and how our San Diego DUI lawyer can fight for you.