The Difference Between a DUI Felony and DUI Misdemeanor



Driving under the influence of alcohol is never ok. It doesn’t matter if it is one drink or ten, putting yourself behind the wheel while intoxicated endangers your life and the lives of those around you. Not only that, if caught you will get in serious trouble with the law, resulting in a DUI infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. What is the difference between these three charges?

DUI Infraction

An infraction is the least serious of the three DUI penalties. An infraction is usually given to individuals under 21 who have a blood alcohol content under .05. While there will still be various penalties, including paying a hefty fine, getting your car impounded, and possibly losing your driver’s license, jail time is off the table. Infractions also do not go on your criminal record, meaning you are not at risk for more serious penalties if you get arrested again.

DUI Misdemeanor

Most DUI charges end up being classified as a misdemeanor. A DUI misdemeanor occurs when your BAC is over .08 in California, and if any injuries resulting from an accident are very minor. Misdemeanor DUI charges are more serious than a DUI infraction and can oftentimes result in jail time up to a year or a large fine. In many cases, jail time can be avoided if you agree to probation and adhere to the requirements of probation. Sometimes, the court may also require that you attend an alcohol treatment program and participate in some kind of community service.

DUI Felony

A DUI felony charge is the most serious of all DUI offenses and carries with it the stiffest penalties. A DUI felony occurs when you seriously injure or kill somebody as a result of driving over the legal alcohol limit. You can also receive a felony DUI charge if you have 4 DUI charges within 10 years. A felony is a criminal offense that can subject you to over a year of prison time. A felony can also restrict your ability to adopt a child, vote, hold a professional license, and access various benefits.

What is the Difference Between a DUI Felony and DUI Misdemeanor?

The main difference between DUI felony and DUI misdemeanor charges is the seriousness of the offense and the punishment. A misdemeanor is when your drunk driving does not endanger anyone else’s life, while a felony occurs when you put somebody’s life in jeopardy. As a result of the danger you have put others in with your DUI, a felony carries with it much more serious punishments and future restrictions.

Contact a Top-Rated San Diego DUI Attorney to Save Your License

A talented DUI attorney may be able to lessen the charge of a DUI or help reduce your punishments. In many cases, jail time can be avoided in exchange for entering treatment programs and completing community service. If you are charged with a DUI in San Diego and need help, contact The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter. To learn more or schedule a free consultation, contact us today! Give us a call.

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