Most Americans understand that when a motorist is pulled over and it is determined that that motorist has been driving while under the influence that he or she will be charged with drunk driving. What some Americans may be surprised to learn however, is that not all drunk driving charges are considered to be equally egregious.
The law recognizes that some drunk driving situations are more dangerous than others. Certainly, every time a motorist operates a vehicle while illegally intoxicated, some potential risk is involved in that activity. However, DUI laws classify certain drunk driving scenarios differently based primarily on how dangerous they either might be or have proven to be.
When a first-time offender is pulled over and that offender is determined to have a blood alcohol content just above the legal limit, he or she will almost certainly be charged with a misdemeanor DUI. Although this offense is dangerous, it is not deemed to be as dangerous as those that are ultimately classified as felony DUIs.
Individuals may be charged with felony DUIs for a number of reasons. Those reasons may include prior DUI convictions, a staggeringly high BAC level, an accident that results in bodily harm to another, driving drunk with children in the vehicle and/or driving drunk with a license that has been either suspended or completely revoked.
If you have questions about the various classifications of drunk driving charges or how your charges specifically may impact you, please do not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal law attorney.
Source: Findlaw Blotter, “What Makes a DUI a Felony?” Daniel Taylor, Nov. 20, 2014