R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Are DUI charges a misdemeanor or a felony?

When Texan drivers like you face DUI-related charges, you're most likely going to be dealing with a misdemeanor charge. However, there are instances in which your DUI charge could actually be considered a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

While misdemeanor DUI charges are more common, there are several situations in which a DUI may be considered a felony instead. VeryWell.com shows that there are five categories of exemptions. They can be broken down as follows:

  • Injury
  • Endangerment
  • Law-breaking
  • Prior convictions
  • Elevated blood alcohol content (BAC) levels

Injury involves the physical damage of someone outside of yourself. If you're charged with a DUI that has resulted in the harm of a passenger, someone in another vehicle, or a bystander, then your charge will likely be categorized as a felony. This can encompass anything from whiplash to fatal injuries. Endangerment, on the other hand, involves driving with children in the vehicle. This is a felony regardless of whether or not an accident occurs.

Law-breaking happens if you run red lights, tailgate or perform other aggressive driving maneuvers, ignore road signs, and all forms of other illegal activities. It can also include driving on suspended, revoked, or expired licenses.

If you've had prior DUI convictions, your most recent one could become a felony, too. The number of prior convictions necessary before a DUI misdemeanor becomes a felony differs from state to state. Additionally, if your BAC level is over a certain number, it's considered a felony. This number also changes based on your location, but is usually .16 percent or higher.

These categories can actually encompass a wide range of drunk driving situations and behaviors. Because of this, being charged with a DUI felony might not be as unrealistic as you think.

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