Is DUI a Felony?

If you’re facing a charge of DUI in Virginia you may be wondering what type of charge you’re actually looking at. Is a DUI a felony or is a DUI a misdemeanor?

The very nature of your DUI charge will depend upon essentially your prior driving record. A DUI in Virginia can be felony or it can be a misdemeanor depending upon your priors.

Third or subsequent DUI is a felony.

Generally speaking, the main time that a DUI can be a felony in Virginia is if the Commonwealth is alleging that this is your third or subsequent offense. In those cases it’ll typically be charged at what we call a “felony DUI.” Of course, if you’re charged with any offense where prior convictions are at issue, we must get copies of those priors.

But when is DUI a misdemeanor?

First and second offense DUI is a misdemeanor.

In Virginia if you’re facing a regular first or second offense DUI, it is only a misdemeanor charge. This means that for most people the DUI that you’re facing currently is just a misdemeanor offense; you don’t need to worry about whether or not your DUI is a felony.

But what does it matter anyway?

The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the name we call it but also the range of punishments involved. For a misdemeanor in Virginia, you cannot get more than one year in jail. That’s the maximum punishment permitted by law. However a felony offense can get much more than that. You can be looking at many years of jail or prison time for a felony offense.

Thus, for a first and second offense DUI, the maximum punishment in Virginia is normally one year in jail (along with a host of other issues, such as license suspension, mandatory classes, etc). For a third or subsequent offense of DUI in Virginia, the maximum punishment is more than one year in jail. That’s the essentially line that you need to be aware of if you’re facing a DUI in Virginia.

Is a DUI a felony? Look at your paperwork and you can find out. That will tell you what exactly you’re accused of doing. Then call me so we can begin your defense.

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Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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