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What is the Difference Between a Felony and Misdemeanor Los Angeles DUI?

by admin   Sep 03, 2017   Filed Under: Uncategorized

Many people do not know how to explain the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. This is a common question when facing a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. This can vary to some extent from state to state. Here we will focus on the specific differences between the two crimes in Los Angeles. If accused of a DUI, you’ll need a DUI attorney to help you.

In looking closely at the California Vehicle Code, we can see how it clearly outlines kinds of unlawful behavior might very well result in a DUI conviction in the state of California. It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any kind of alcoholic beverage, or drug, or beverage and drug to operate any kind of vehicle in the state of California, as described in California Vehicle Code §23152.

It is also unlawful for anyone to drive a vehicle, while under the effects or influence of any kind of alcoholic beverage, drug, or under the effects of both, and at the same time, do any action or act that is prohibited or forbidden by law, or neglect or ignore any sort of duty set forth by the law involved in the practice of driving a vehicle, which act, action or neglect proximately results in or causes bodily injury to anyone other than the person driving the vehicle, as described in California Vehicle Code §23153

In essence, both California Vehicle Code §23152 and California Vehicle Code §23153 are statutes that outline the same sort of unlawful act. A felony has many more additional elements. In the section that follows, we will take a close look at the elements so that we may fully understand the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor.

The Misdemeanor DUI described in California Vehicle Code §23152 states that:

1. A person must be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even both; and
2. Operating or driving a vehicle.

In order to prove that someone is guilty of a misdemeanor DUI, the Prosecutors must be able to prove that both of the elements described above are beyond a reasonable doubt. If someone is simply driving but he or she is not under the influence of drugs, alcohol or even both, this person cannot be found guilty of a DUI offense. If someone who is simply under the influence of drugs, alcohol or even both, but he or she is not operating a vehicle, this person cannot be found guilty of a DUI. In order for a person to be convicted of a DUI offense, BOTH elements of being under the influence of drugs, alcohol or even both must be present. If only one of the elements is present, California Vehicle Code §23152 is not applicable.

The Felony DUI described in California Vehicle Code §23153 states that:

1. A person must be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even both; and
2. Operating or driving a vehicle; and
3. Doing one of the following actions:

1. Driver or vehicle operator is doing any act or action prohibited or forbidden by law which proximately results in bodily injury to anyone other than the person driving or operating the vehicle
2. Driver or vehicle operator neglects any duty or responsibility imposed by law while driving or operating a vehicle which proximately results in bodily injury to anyone other than the person driving or operating the vehicle

For prosecutors to be able to charge a DUI offense as a felony, bodily injury to a person other than the person driving or operating the vehicle must have occurred as a result of the driver or person operating the vehicle’s actions. In addition, the injury in question needs to have been directly caused by an act, action or even neglect on by the person driving or operating the vehicle. If bodily injury does not occur to anyone other than the person driving or operating the vehicle, the person driving or operating the vehicle will probably be charged with a DUI offense, but it will not be a felony and simply a misdemeanor.
Having the proper arguments and forms of negotiation, a felony DUI conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor offense. Nonetheless, experience, skillful strategy, and appropriate preparation are totally necessary. If you are convicted of felony DUI, you will face mandatory jail time, and it will be on your record permanently, and it may bring on more severe consequences with educational facilities and even with employers. If you ever face a DUI offense, be sure to consult with a Los Angeles based DUI lawyer before it is too late.