The most common criminal offense in the U.S. is a DUI. For those with a DUI on their record they probably know how troubling this can be.
As someone who has this charge against them, when they got their DUI they probably didn’t think about whether it was a misdemeanor or a felony.
There is a difference between the two. There are several factors which determine its severity level.
This blog post will cover the different aspects of a felony DUI and how it affects people’s lives.
- Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony DUI
- Impact on Driving Privileges
- Impact on Job Search and Travel
- Supporting Those with a Felony DUI Conviction
Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony DUI
First, is the BAC level at the time the offense is committed. With .08 established as the legal limit in most states, the farther above that the more likely it is that it will be considered a felony.
Another factor, is how recklessly they were driving. This establishes a level of danger to their actions.
Along with this is whether there were any injuries or deaths in the incident. The more injuries and the more serious those were, the more likely it is that the DUI charge will be a felony.
A DUI with a minor in the vehicle will result in a felony DUI. Driving with a suspended driver’s license will also earn a felony conviction.
Also, felons past criminal record makes a difference. With previous felony convictions on their record, again the more likely it is for that charge to be considered a felony.
Each state has its own laws regarding DUI’s, including the criteria for a DUI to become a felony.
Some states have a zero tolerance policy and will press hard for a felony conviction. Other states, do not take such a hard line on DUI’s.
As with other felony charges, the sooner felons have good legal counsel the better off they are facing those charges.
The first area in which a felony DUI will impact felons is in the area of sentencing for the offense. Felony DUI’s carry a much stiffer penalty.
Impact on Driving Privileges
With a misdemeanor DUI, felons will have a black mark on their driving record, which includes a fine and having their driver’s license being revoked for one to three months.
If it is a felony DUI, they may earn a much larger fine, jail time, and loss of their driver’s license for at least one year or even permanently.
Having a felony DUI conviction will establish a permanent criminal record.
Felony DUI typically necessitates installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle for one to three years at their expense, including installation and monthly fees.
An IID system works by having the driver provide a breath sample before the vehicle will start. A zero BAC level will allow the vehicle to start. Random breathalyzer readings are required as they drive to detect drinking during driving.
Having a felony DUI will require felons to take DUI classes and/or counseling before their license can be reinstated.
Higher car insurance or even denial of insurance coverage will also take place. If their car insurance is not cancelled, there will still be much higher rates.
In the event their insurance is cancelled, likely the only recourse is to obtain auto insurance as a high risk driver. This type of policy can cost as much as $10,000 per year for as long as ten years after the conviction. As with a felony DUI, it’s best to seek legal counsel once something like this happens to try to reduce the impact of the conviction.
Impact on Job Search and Travel
Another area drastically affected by a felony DUI is in finding a job. An employer background check will probably show the felony conviction, which significantly limits opportunity for finding a job. There are employers who will hire felons. But additional education or new job training may be necessary.
A felony DUI will almost certainly prevent being able to work in certain professions, such as police office, firefighter, government worker, teacher, nurse, or truck driver requiring a CDL License. Though it is possible to get the record expunged in some cases, that isn’t always possible with a fresh DUI.
With the loss of a driver’s license which usually accompanies a felony DUI, felons will need someone to provide them transportation to a job interview and to any job for which they may be hired.
A felony DUI conviction will affect felons’ ability to travel. Travel within the U.S. will be unrestricted after completion of the sentence, probation, and all fines.
The greater impact is on travel outside the U.S. Entry to some countries, will be denied, as obtaining a passport will be very difficult.
Entry to Canada, which does not require a passport will also be severely impacted. If the felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor, it will lessen travel restrictions. To try to get the sentence reduced, make sure you get a good DUI attorney.
Supporting Those with a Felony DUI Conviction
Such impact on a person’s life is major. It not only affects driving but also brings about lifestyle changes and impacts one’s relationships.
Reduced self-esteem and confidence will typically diminish one’s self-image. Loss of social support can happen.
This is the time for the family to step forward and provide caring and compassion. A loved one may face drastic, if not permanent loss of driving privileges.
Being there for them and assisting with transportation for various purpose will be essential. Provide them support in the difficulties they face.
So what do you think about this blog post about how a DUI felony will affect your life? Have you or someone you know been impacted by a felony DUI? What was that experience like? Please tell us in the comments below.