If you are unfortunate enough to have a DUI charge, the last thing you may be thinking is whether or not your charge is a felony or misdemeanor. However, DUI charges have different levels of intensity. Whether or not you get a misdemeanor or a felony depends on:
If it is your first offense and it is relatively minor, you may be able to get away with a simple misdemeanor. With the help of a good DUI attorney, you may even be able to get this charge overturned. However, if the incident resulted in a fatality, if your BAC was way over the legal limit, or if it is your third or fourth time, you may be charged with a DUI felony.
Every state has its DUI laws on how to make a DUI conviction, and every state has different criteria for charging you with a misdemeanor or a felony. Some states have a zero tolerance policy and will do all they can to slap a DUI felony charge while other states are more relaxed and rarely, if ever, issue the felony charge. It is up to you to do your research and contact your lawyer to determine which type of situation applies to your state.
If you are only charged with a misdemeanor, you will still get a black mark on your driving record, and you will still be given a fine that could be in excess of $1,000. Your license may be revoked for a short period of time, generally between 1-3 months. This is still a very serious charge, so you shouldn't go around trying to get a DUI misdemeanor, but it falls far short of a felony charge.
If you've been charged with a DUI felony, you could be facing time in jail, fines in the thousands of dollars, and your driver's license could be revoked for up to a year or even permanently.
You should contact a DUI lawyer to discuss your options as soon as possible after you get into an automobile accident for which you could receive a DUI conviction. Your lawyer will help you determine the best path moving forward and will advocate for you before a judge.