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Attorneys Stephen G. Fabian Jr. and Brian P. Young

Understanding when a DUI will be charged as a misdemeanor

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2020 | DUI - Drunk Driving |

Oklahoma drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence will have understandable concerns as to how the case will impact their lives. A conviction can lead to various penalties. A critical aspect of a DUI case is whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony.

There are certain circumstances that will lead to a DUI arrest being a misdemeanor. Across the United States, a first-offense DUI will generally be a misdemeanor. First, it is important to understand the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. Misdemeanors can result in jail time but will not result in prison. There can also be fines or the person can be placed on probation. Provided that there are no extenuating circumstances like DUI with a minor in the vehicle or a collision resulting in a person’s death, the DUI will likely be a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor DUIs do not have a preliminary hearing. With a misdemeanor, there will be the arrest, charges, an arraignment, a pretrial conference and then a trial. Of course, the driver can seek a plea agreement. The penalties will not be as severe as for a felony DUI. If the DUI did not lead to an accident and there were no other aspects to raise the level of the violation to a felony, it is possible that the person will simply be fined, need to take a course in alcohol education and receive a driver license suspension.

Even though the penalties for a misdemeanor DUI might not seem harsh, that does not mean a person should not mount a legal defense. The traffic stop may not have been valid, or the testing procedures could have been flawed, meaning the case might be dismissed. When arrested and charged with DUI, legal assistance may be vital to combat the charges.