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When does a DUI become a felony in Florida?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Blog, Criminal Defense Process, Dui Defense

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Florida, but did you know that in certain cases, it can turn into a felony instead of a misdemeanor?

First, it is important to understand the differences between felonies and misdemeanors. The latter are less severe, and the punishments are also less severe. Felonies, however, are the big crimes. Murder, for example, is a felony. It does not sound like an everyday charge, right?

If the authorities convict you of a felony DUI, it means something serious happened, and the punishment for that conviction will be more severe than it would be for a misdemeanor.

Multiple DUI offenses

If the state convicts you of multiple DUIs within a certain period, usually within 10 years, your third could be a felony. This means harsher penalties, like long sentences in jail and high fines.

DUI causing serious injury

If the police catch you driving under the influence and you injure someone in that physical state, the state will charge you with a felony DUI.

Most states take these charges seriously because they involve the lives of innocent people. If the state convicts you in a case like this, you could face serious jail time and suspension of your license.

DUI manslaughter

Now, this is one of the most serious DUI charges you can get. If you drink and drive, get into an accident and kill someone, or cause someone injuries that lead to their death, you could face charges that are like normal manslaughter.

These crimes carry severe penalties, and you could spend an exceptionally long time behind bars, plus significant fines, probation, community service and civil lawsuits, which could leave you penniless if you are guilty.

How to avoid a felony DUI

The simplest answer to how to avoid a felony DUI is to not drink and drive. Always make sure you have a designated driver, or if you know you will drink at an event and do not have a ride, get an Uber, or Lyft or other car service.

Felony DUIs are serious charges and if the state convicts you, your life could change drastically and forever. Before you get behind the wheel, make sure you understand what is at stake so you can make wise decisions. If you find yourself in this situation, do not speak with the police and get legal help immediately.