Being charged with a DUI is one of the most stressful situations a person can go through in their lives. In addition to the financial costs associated with a DUI conviction, there are serious legal consequences that can bring jail time, community service or both. Often when someone is facing DUI charges, the question is asked, “Is a DUI a felony?”
In Michigan, the answer to this depends on the circumstances surrounding the DUI and the particular individual’s previous criminal record. If you are facing DUI charges it is strongly advised for you to reach out to an experienced attorney specializing in DUI cases.
Michigan takes DUI very seriously and has strong legal consequences for convicted offenders. Normally DUI’s are charged as misdemeanors, with more serious or repeat offenders being charged with felony. A judge can sentence an offender to jail time for a DUI conviction regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, even on the first offense.
More often than not, convictions carry with them extensive fines, community service, and court ordered alcohol treatment. In certain cases, offenders can be subject to a lifetime revocation of their driver’s license and confiscation of their vehicle(s). The possibility of enhanced penalties exist for those who are convicted of felony DUI and have previous felony convictions of any kind, resulting in a longer prison sentence, higher fines or both.
There are two instances in which a DUI charge becomes a felony instead of a misdemeanor in Michigan. The first instance is if the defendant has already had two previous DUI convictions on their record. This would make the third DUI charge a felony. Generally speaking this will result in a prison sentence of one to two years, but can be up to five per the statue.
The second instance in which a DUI becomes a felony is if the defendant caused serious bodily injury or death to another individual while intoxicated. These cases typically see a 15 year prison sentence. It should be noted that this applies even if it’s the defendant’s first time being charged with a DUI.
Effects of Felony DUI
A felony DUI conviction in Michigan can have lifetime repercussions for an individual, even after they serve their sentence. It can result in the loss of certain professional licenses such as those held by doctors, lawyers, etc. It also can result in the loss of certain freedoms such as the right to serve on a jury, obtain a liquor or casino license, join the military, vote while incarcerated, and own or carry a firearm.
Having a DUI conviction on record can negatively affect future employment opportunities, which is often compounded by the suspension or revocation of a person’s driver’s license associated with a DUI conviction.
This makes traveling to and from a person’s place of employment or future employment exceptionally difficult. A DUI conviction will also create a problem for a person traveling internationally to Canada, as the Canadian government will not allow someone with a DUI on their record to cross their border.
Talk To A DUI Attorney
Kelly & Kelly P.C has over 30 years’ experience representing clients charged with an OWI or other DUI related offense in the State of Michigan. Our team of criminal lawyers have the knowledge and experience to provide top quality representation for clients charged with a misdemeanor or felony. We understand that good people make mistakes and fall into bad life situations and we want to help ensure the necessary tools to recover from this issue.
If you or someone you know has been arrested or is being charged with an OWI in Michigan, contact our office for confidential case evaluation.