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Is a DUI a felony?

Posted on January 7th, 2016

Is a DUI a felony? The simple answer is “no.” In Pennsylvania, driving under the influence is not a felony.  Driving under the influence is always a misdemeanor.

There are, however, some important clarifications. The real question is why do you need to know if a DUI is a felony

Are you concerned because you believe that your DUI is more serious than others and therefore may be considered a felony?

There are many factors that make certain DUIs seem far more serious than others. The first is:

  • Driving under the influence and causing an accident.

Driving under the influence while causing an accident and causing serious bodily injury to another is in fact a felony. Under circumstances where you cause an accident, or even if you do not cause the accident, but you are driving under the influence, you can be charged with and found guilty of a felony. Charges are even worse if the injuries you caused to another person are serious bodily injuries. You may be looking at a far greater sentence and a felony conviction if you are charged with driving under the influence and causing serious bodily injury to another person.

  • Driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of an accident.

If one causes an accident while intoxicated and then flees the scene of the accident this could be charged as a felony facing mandatory jail time. One must be very careful and speak with an experienced attorney if charged with DUI while fleeing the scene of an accident.

  • Driving under the influence with a suspended license.

If you’re driving under the influence and with a suspended license, this is not a felony DUI, however, you are facing other mandatory jail sentences. You could be facing a mandatory incarceration of up to 90 days under this circumstance.

  • Are you concerned that your DUI will be considered a felony for immigration purposes?

What is considered a felony in Pennsylvania State Court is very different than what is a considered a felony in Federal Court—specifically for immigration purposes. Although a DUI can be categorized in State Court as a misdemeanor, depending on the amount of jail time, the amount of probation, or even other extenuating circumstances such as drug use or fleeing the scene of an accident, Immigration Court and Federal Court may consider these misdemeanors as felonies. It is important if you are concerned about immigration consequences with your DUI that you not just look at state law but also at federal law.

  • Conclusion

Although DUI is never a felony in Pennsylvania, there are many other charges associated with receiving a driving under the influence charge that can be charged as a felony. It is important to consult a knowledgeable lawyer if you have questions and are charged with driving under the influence. At The Philly Lawyers, we are experienced and knowledgeable in handling these cases and are available 24 hours to discuss your case. Call us today for a free consultation.


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