When does a DUI turn felony

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2021 | DUI |

Most Alabama residents are aware that a felony arrest brings with it much harsher consequences than misdemeanor offenses. Residents also know that felony arrests can result in lengthy prison sentences, costly fines and the stigma that often accompanies life after a felony conviction. But many Alabama residents do not possess the same amount of knowledge when it comes to determining when an arrest for driving under the influence becomes a felony.

First DUI arrest

A first DUI arrest is a misdemeanor but can still result in unwanted consequences for the motorists. An initial DUI conviction is punishable by up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine. Other possibilities include suspended driving privileges, DUI classes and the placement of an interlock ignition device on the driver’s vehicle.

Second and third DUI arrests

A second DUI arrest is treated not much unlike a first arrest if 10 or more years pass between the incidents. However, harsher penalties apply to a second arrest that takes place within a 10-year “look back” window. Second and third arrests are still misdemeanors but carry a one-year jail term. Fines and the potential length of the driver’s license suspension also increases.

Fourth DUI arrest

A fourth DUI in 10 years will become a felony. This DUI accumulation may apply even if some of the prior DUIs happened while in another state. The potential punishments for a felony DUI arrest are a lot harsher and begin with a four-year prison term. Felony DUI convictions can also result in a four-year loss of driving privileges, mandatory ignition interlock devices and thousands of dollars paid in fines and fees. Felony arrests are also possible when a motorist is guilty of DUI while becoming involved in a serious accident.

A person arrested for driving under the influence faces legal consequences as well as damage to their reputation. An attorney may prove capable of helping drivers who need to protect themselves from the fallout of a DUI arrest.