If you opt to have a few alcoholic beverages before getting behind the wheel of your car to drive home, you may be pulled over for driving under the influence. In the state of Washington, DUI is considered to be a gross misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $5000 and up to one year of jail time. However, in certain cases, DUI may be considered to be a much graver offense and is charged as a felony.
What is a felony?
The United States government has defined a felony as any criminal offense that is punishable by more than one year in prison. Felonies are, on the whole, much more serious criminal offenses than misdemeanors. Acts such as murder, rape, burglary, arson, and aggravated assault are all considered to be felonies. For DUI to be a felony, it needs to be on par with these harmful actions. Multiple DUI's within a 10 year span and DUI that results in harm to others are considered to be felonies.
What constitutes a felonious DUI?
Since DUI laws are decided by the state, felony DUI in Washington may be defined differently than in other areas of the country. The following DUI-related acts are defined as felonies in Washington:
- Four or more DUI convictions within a 10 year period
- DUI with a previous vehicular homicide or vehicular assault conviction
If you are driving while intoxicated and commit vehicular homicide or vehicular assault, then you will also be charged with a felony.
If you have been charged with felony DUI, then you will need a skilled and experienced attorney to protect your rights in court. Contact the Seattle DUI defense lawyers of Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn today at 1-866-822-1320 to speak with us about your legal rights and options.