If you or a loved one is facing a felony DUI charge in Los Angeles, you must understand the severity of these charges. If convicted, you could face prison time, loss of drivers license, fines, probation, immigration issues, and problems with professional licenses and most careers.
It is critical to hire an experienced Los Angeles felony DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest. Even if things look hopeless, a lawyer can help keep these charges from ruining your entire life.
At Chudnovsky Law, our award-winning DUI attorneys will fight for you and your rights after a DUI arrest. We work tirelessly to build a solid defense and secure the best possible outcome.
However, you need to act fast!
Our Los Angeles Felony DUI Lawyers Are Here For You
Our team of former prosecutors and top defense attorneys have handled thousands of DUI cases in Los Angeles and California courts. We know how to vigorously protect your driving record, your license, and your future from the moment you’re arrested.
If you have no prior convictions and there are no additional charges, it is possible that we can resolve a DUI charge without any felony convictions. Without a lawyer on your side, however, you could face extensive, lifelong consequences.
Did you know that a felony conviction results in the automatic loss of civil rights (such as voting and gun ownership)? Felony charges can also lead to prison sentences, significant fines, and other consequences. If you want to keep your license so you can drive to work and get groceries, you have a limited time to request a DMV hearing—10 days.
The sooner you have our skilled DUI defense attorneys on your side, the better we can protect your constitutional rights. Learn more about felony charges in drunk driving cases and why Chudnovsky Law is the right choice for any DUI case.
We offer affordable fees and flexible payment plans.
Chudnovsky Law Has the Right Defense Lawyers for Serious Drunk Driving Charges
The stakes are high in a felony DUI case. Defendants face the possibility of extensive jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, and the loss of driving rights, civil rights, and parenting rights. They can even lose jobs or professional licenses.
All of these collateral consequences depend on the result of your criminal case. By hiring the right DUI lawyer at the start of your criminal case, you will have the best options for resolving the charges against you. This resolution, in turn, can prevent collateral damage in other areas of your life.
But how do you know who the best DUI lawyers are? There are many ads, and everyone claims to be the best. At Chudnovsky Law, we prove it. Our experienced DUI lawyers have handled all kinds of drunk driving cases involving many charges.
We know how to resolve felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic violations that occur in the same case. We fight to keep inadmissible evidence away from juries. Our legal team holds police accountable for unlawful stops, searches, and seizures.
We work hard and get results. Our lawyers also know the local courts. Our working relationships with police officers and prosecutors allow us to deal with substantive evidentiary issues professionally.
We also have working relationships with judges and court clerks, so we also know how to resolve procedural matters. Experience matters. The team at Chudnovsky Law has fought hundreds of DUI cases in the greater L.A. area, and we will fight for you, too.
When Drunk Driving Is a Felony
There are four situations in which a prosecutor can charge a DUI as a felony under California law:
- The DUI is the driver’s fourth offense in ten years.
- The driver has a prior felony DUI conviction.
- The driver causes an accident that causes serious bodily injury or death to another person.
- The driver was dangerously driving with a minor in the car, prosecutors can add felony 273(a) pc child endangerment charge.
A conviction for felony DUI can result in years in the state prison system. You may need to pay court costs, fines, restitution, and other mandatory fees. It is also essential to understand that the state can charge you with many different felony charges resulting from the same DUI accident. A felony DUI is just one of many felony charges you can face.
Vehicular Assault and Manslaughter
When a DUI case results in serious bodily injury, the driver can face vehicular assault charges and any DUI charges filed. This fact pattern results in charges for assault with a deadly weapon.
A conviction for assault with a deadly weapon (in this case, a vehicle) can result in one year in the county jail or up to four years in state prison. The driver can also receive a fine of up to $10,000.
When a DUI accident results in death, law enforcement can charge the driver with vehicular manslaughter. California law allows vehicular manslaughter charges for either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter can result in a one-year jail term. Felony vehicular manslaughter can result in a prison sentence of up to six years.
Whether a conviction is for a misdemeanor or a felony, the driver will face suspended driving privileges and increased insurance premiums. The driver might even have to post a bond instead of insurance. All of this is in addition to fines, restitution, community service, ignition interlock devices, and other orders made by the court at the time of sentencing.
Other Vehicular Crimes
DUI, assault, and manslaughter are not the only felony charges a person can face in a drunk driving case. Many other felonies add to a defendant’s potential prison sentence.
For example: if a child was in the car at the DUI arrest, the charge might be child endangerment. Reckless driving is a common misdemeanor, but it can also be a felony, and it carries a potential prison term of up to three years. Hit and run is another vehicular crime that can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It carries sentences of up to six months (as a misdemeanor) or one year (as a felony).
Many vehicular crimes are not felonies. These misdemeanors and traffic offenses do not carry the severe penalties of a felony, but they can complicate a DUI case. Driving on a suspended license (or driving without a license) is a separate misdemeanor with a separate penalty. More importantly, prosecutors use these offenses to paint a much worse picture of the defendant to a jury.
Moving violations can also complicate a case in plea negotiations or win a jury’s favor. Moving violations include basic speed violations, red-light running, failure to stop, running stop signs, improper lane changes, and failure to yield to another road user who had the legal right of way.
Your attorney will need to negotiate these lesser offenses as part of a plea deal. Our experienced DUI lawyers know how to resolve traffic violations, misdemeanors, and felonies to achieve a fair outcome in any DUI case.
FAQs About Los Angeles Drunk Driving Crimes
What will happen to my driver’s license?
Any DUI conviction - whether a misdemeanor or a felony - will cause the court and DMV to order a suspension of your driver's license for a period of time. Court sentencing and DMV rules are complex and you should consult a lawyer to review what options there are to save your license, get a school or work restricted license, or obtain an ignition interlock device restricted driver’s license. It is crucial to understand how a DUI will affect your driving privileges before you agree to plead guilty to any vehicular charges. A DUI conviction can be especially problematic for those who hold commercial driver’s licenses.
What happens once I have a felony on my criminal record?
A felony conviction (whether due to a jury verdict or a plea agreement) results in the automatic removal of certain civil rights. The defendant may no longer lawfully own guns, vote, or serve on a jury. You can seek restoration of these civil rights in certain situations. Restoration is not guaranteed, however, so be sure to discuss your civil liberties with your DUI lawyer before entering into a plea agreement.
Can a felony DUI affect my job?
Some jobs require a driver’s license to perform them. For example: if the state suspends your commercial driver’s license due to a DUI, you cannot lawfully perform your job. Other work requires a criminal background check or fingerprint clearance. A felony will appear on the background check and may disqualify you for these positions.
Some states also suspend professional licenses as a result of a DUI. Nurses, lawyers, veterinarians, contractors, and others must remain in good standing with a state licensing board to lawfully practice their trades. If they do not, they too can be legally prohibited from working in their field.
Aside from any professional discipline, employers are free to discipline employees convicted of a DUI. This discipline can include the termination of employment entirely.
You need an excellent legal strategy before dealing with an employer. The criminal case outcome is almost certain to be important to your employer. With an experienced DUI lawyer on your side, you may mitigate the collateral consequences of DUI charges on your employment.
Can a felony DUI affect my parental rights?
You might be surprised to learn that even a misdemeanor DUI can affect your parenting rights. If you have a legal custody agreement with another parent, they have the right to return to the family court with evidence of your DUI conviction. Even if there is no custody agreement, the state can open an investigation and even ask the juvenile court to restrict your parental rights.
These actions do not always happen in misdemeanor DUI cases (although they can). In felony DUI cases, however, the courts are especially concerned with a child’s well-being. Child endangerment charges (for example, if your child was in the vehicle at a felony DUI arrest) are especially concerning to the court.
The state can challenge your parental rights even before the state formally charges you with any DUI offenses. These cases are affected by the outcome of your criminal court case. As a result, parents need to hire an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as they learn of a criminal investigation. Early intervention can mitigate the consequences of felony DUI charges in the criminal court, family court, or juvenile court.
Do I have to plead guilty to a felony DUI?
No! The constitution grants you the right to hire an attorney and confront all the evidence against you. You also have the right to fight against unlawful stops, searches, or seizures (which can result in a ruling that the evidence is inadmissible). When facing the severe penalties of a felony conviction, it makes even more sense to fight back against questionable evidence or police practices.
Here are some of the most common defenses to DUI charges:
- The driver did not show any signs of impairment.
- The officer had no reasonable suspicion to pull over the vehicle
- Legal use of prescription medication or marijuana without alcohol
- An unreliable breathalyzer
- Questionable field sobriety tests
- Improper lab procedures
Only decide to plead guilty after thoroughly consulting with your attorney. Your DUI lawyer will explain the risks and benefits of going to trial. If you receive advice to take a plea deal, your attorney will explain why they believe this is the best method to resolve the charges against you.
Ask your attorney about all the legal consequences of pleading guilty to the charges specified in the plea agreement. As we have seen, a guilty plea can affect your civil liberties, your driving privileges, and even your parental rights.
If you plead guilty without a defense lawyer, it is very difficult to retract your plea, even if you learn of collateral consequences later on. A prosecutor might try to convince you to plead guilty, but they will not offer you the same deal they will offer a DUI defense lawyer. You risk your freedom and a lot more by not having the right legal representation for your felony DUI case.
Experienced, Aggressive Los Angeles Defense Lawyers For DUI and Vehicular Crimes
At Chudnovsky Law, we believe that every defendant has the right to an aggressive defense against criminal charges. The law provides defendants with important rights, and these must be protected. You don’t have to face the power of police and prosecutors on your own. An experienced lawyer can protect you from constitutional violations and mitigate the collateral damage that a conviction has on all areas of your life.
Our experienced Los Angeles felony DUI lawyers will fight to protect your legal rights and develop the right strategy for your unique case. Contact us at (213) 212-5002 for your free consultation. The right legal team on your side will protect your rights throughout a criminal investigation and at every stage of criminal case proceedings.