Felony DUI


  • A felony DUI conviction may result in a state prison sentence
  • A DUI is charged as a felony in three situations

Any felony carries serious consequences, and a felony DUI is no different. Moreover, felony DUI sentencing is extremely complicated and requires a skilled DUI attorney to navigate. Read below for a brief overview of the situations in which DUIs are charged as felonies, defenses, and felony DUI punishments.


The district attorney typically charges a DUI as a felony in three circumstances:

  • Someone other than the defendant was injured [1]
  • The current DUI charge is the defendant’s fourth DUI charge in ten years [2]
  • The defendant has a prior felony DUI in the last 10 years [3]


Defending against Felony DUI charges is a different ballgame. While the typical DUI defenses apply, a skilled DUI attorney must also investigate the extent of the victim’s injuries, as well as the defendant’s prior convictions, depending on the nature of the case. At the very least, the goal should always be to have the charges reduced to misdemeanor DUI charges.


If probation isn’t granted, felony DUIs may result in 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in the state prison. In an injury case, an additional 3 to 5 years may be added to the sentence if a victim sustains “Great Bodily Injury,” as well as 1 additional year for each additional victim.

Felony DUI fines/fees can be upwards of $5,000 and a DMV license suspension of at least 1 year is imposed.


  • V.C. §23153 [1]
  • V.C. §23152 pursuant to V.C. §23550(a) [2]
  • V.C. §23550.5 [3]

©NorCal Criminal Defense 2016