The Felony DUI in Sacramento

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The Felony DUI in Sacramento

One of the most common crimes prosecuted in Sacramento county is that of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under the most typical scenarios this charge is filed by the Sacramento district attorney as a misdemeanor. The definition of misdemeanor means that a conviction could result in county jail time, but no worse. Again, this is the most common level of severity attached to a DUI in Sacramento, however there are a few different ways that a DUI can become a felony.

The 4th DUI- A felony in Sacramento Court

California vehicle codes section 23550 makes it a felony the be found guilty of DUI when you have been convicted 3 separate times within the past 10 years. As a matter of policy,the Sacramento District Attorney files these cases as felonies and seeks punishment with a 16 month term in state prison.

An illustration of the timing rule for separate DUI’s within 10 years

A technical note worth pointing out is that the fourth DUI need not necessarily follow three DUI offenses in time. For example, consider the following hypothetical scenario to illustrate how this might work. Imagine a case where an individual is convicted of a DUI in 2004, he is later convicted of another DUI in 2006 (his second DUI). Imagine further that he is arrested but no charges are filed against him for a 3rd DUI in January of 2012, because it is a marijuana DUI that the District Attorney believes they will have a hard time proving. Then in July of 2012 he is arrested and convicted of a DUI (his fourth DUI arrest, but only his third conviction). Then, imagine further the district attorney decides to file charges based on the January 2012 arrest. If this individual is convicted for the DUI in January 2012, then this would be a 4th DUI even though this DUI preceded his 3rd DUI in chronological order.

The DUI with Injury Under California Vehicle Code Section 23153

Section 23153 of the California Vehicle Code makes it a felony to be arrested for DUI where the DUI caused on injury to someone other than the driver. Section 23153 is silent as to the extent of the injury so technically ANY injury will suffice. Thus, even a minor rear-end accident in which the driver complains of neck pain could trigger the filing of felony charges. Likewise, Section 23153 requires only that the injured party cannot be the driver who was allegedly Driving under the influence, so even a passenger who is friendly to the defendant, but who is nevertheless injured, can trigger a felony DUI.

The DUI Following a Felony DUI Within the Passed 10 Years.

The third way that a person can be charged with a felony DUI, which is commonly employed by Sacramento District Attorneys, is under vehicle code section 23550.5. This code section makes it a felony to be charged with DUI within 10 years of another felony conviction. Thus, once you have been sentenced for a felony DUI, any DUI conviction within 10 years, however minor, will trigger prosecution for another felony DUI.

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