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Circumstances That Can Elevate a DUI to a Felony Charge

 Posted on September 26, 2022 in DUI

davis county dui defense lawyerA majority of DUIs are addressed at the misdemeanor level. Misdemeanors are generally regarded as lesser or minor offenses, commonly resulting in consequences such as probation or brief terms of incarceration. Felonies are regarded as more severe and troublesome offenses, commonly resulting in long terms of imprisonment and extreme socioeconomic harms, referred to as “collateral consequences.” In simple forms, DUIs are regarded as misdemeanors, however, circumstances showing significant elevation in the seriousness of the offense may cause a DUI to be prosecuted as a felony. Even as a first offense, a DUI may be charged as a felony given that an aggravating factor is present. If you have been charged with a felony associated with intoxicated driving, it is critical that you initiate communication with a qualified attorney at your earliest convenience. The seriousness of a felony DUI charge cannot be understated.

Aggravating Circumstances in DUI Prosecutions

A felony conviction or the entrance of a guilty plea may precipitate massive and unwanted lifestyle alterations, such as significant difficulty in securing desirable employment and rental housing. Aggravating factors that may cause a DUI to be prosecuted as a felony include: 

  • Repeat charges - Under Utah state law, a third DUI within a period of ten calendar years can be automatically treated as a felony offense. The policy giving rise to this rule of law relates to a societal need to more severely punish those who demonstrate a failure to rehabilitate themselves following two separate incidents of intoxicated driving, thereby placing the public in danger.

  • Prior felony - This law is closely related to the policy purpose supporting the prosecution of a third DUI as a felony. Those who have been convicted of or plead guilty to any felony DUI charge and engage in any repeated intoxicated driving will see their charge automatically elevated to a felony should a second arrest occur, regardless of any presence or absence of aggravating factors.

  • Death or serious injury - Intoxicated driving which results in an accident causing serious injury or death of another person will be charged as a felony. The policy giving rise to the criminalization of intoxicated driving relates to a societal need to prevent injuries and fatalities stemming from the operation of a vehicle by intoxicated persons.

In some occasions, an attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to reduce the seriousness of a charge, among other legal strategies that may be employed in your defense.

Contact a Davis County DUI Lawyer 

Collins Rupp, P.C. provides quality criminal defense services to those facing felony DUI charges. Our experienced Salt Lake City DUI attorneys will take any steps necessary to guard you against potentially severe results. Call 385-777-2753 for a free consultation.


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