As most people know, felony criminal charges typically have the possibility of steeper consequences if a person faces a conviction. In some cases, crimes that often fall into the category of a misdemeanor charge could increase to a felony if certain details apply. As a result, it is always wise to fully understand any allegation that may come against you.
If you have recently found yourself in trouble with law enforcement, you may wonder what the charges you face really mean. Currently, you may face a felony DUI charge, and knowing why authorities decided that a felony charge applied could help you better understand the predicament you are in.
When is a DUI increased to a felony?
Felony charges for DUI can occur for different reasons, and those reasons vary from state to state. In South Carolina, authorities may charge you with a felony if you caused a car accident that resulted in the serious or fatal injuries of another person. Of course, like with any car accident, an investigation into what happened could affect your criminal case later.
What consequences could you face?
Unfortunately, when it is a felony, the charge of driving under the influence of alcohol could result in hefty fines and jail time after a conviction. Those possible punishments include the following:
- After an accident that results in great bodily injury, a fine between $5,100 and $10,100 is mandatory and could reach over $20,000 when surcharges and assessments are included.
- Incarceration for a crash causing great bodily harm could range from 30 days to 15 years.
- In the event of a fatal accident, fines could range between $10,100 to $25,100, and after surcharges and assessments, it could reach over $50,000.
- Jail time after a fatal DUI accident could range from one to 25 years behind bars.
As you can see, these repercussions are nothing to take lightly, so you may want to put your best foot forward when it comes to your defense.
How can you defend yourself?
With any criminal allegation, you have the right to create and present a criminal defense in court. This situation may understandably seem overwhelming, but you do not have to try to navigate the process alone. You may find it helpful to have a legal ally on your side to guide you through your available defense options and explain what you may expect during your case. As a result, it may be worthwhile for you to consider contacting an experienced attorney.