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In California law, some criminal offenses are prosecuted as either felonies or misdemeanors— commonly referred to as “wobblers” because they wobble between the two categories. However, most of DUI/DWI cases in Los Angeles are sued as misdemeanors level offenses, which have less stringent convictions than felonies. Even a misdemeanor first DUI offense in Los Angeles can attract a punishment of up to six months in prison, but a felony DWI offense is punishable by up to one year or more in jail. It’s therefore advisable to contact a qualified Los Angeles DUI Attorney immediately you’ve been arrested for a “wobbler” Driving Under Influence offense, as an early intervention of a lawyer may avert a felony filing.
How a Wobbler DUI Offense is Determined to be a Misdemeanor or Felony
If you’re charged with a DUI offense for the first time in Los Angeles, you’ll be facing misdemeanor so long as you never caused any property damage or injuries. If you had three or more past DUI convictions, then the subsequent DWI offense is normally charged as a felony. However, this fourth DUI conviction is actually a wobbler crime whose charges can go either way—misdemeanor or felony. Generally, the defendant must serve an 180-day jail imprisonment. On the other hand, if the wobbler has been determined to be a felony, then the defendant will have additional charges, including having his or her license revoked for at least four years and being labeled a habitual traffic offender.
A motorist can also be convicted of a felony if he or she caused injuries or vehicular manslaughters while under the influence. However, a filing decision is determined by the underlying circumstances of the offense and the previous criminal record the defendant. A DUI offense involving injuries can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony based on the following factors:
Whether a DUI case has been filed as a misdemeanor or felony, the defendant would be required to compensate the injury victims if he or she has been found guilty of this offense.
Wobbler Offenses When there was Vehicular Manslaughter
When an intoxicated driver gets involved in a collision while under the influence that led to the death of a passenger, he or she can be prosecuted for a wobbler vehicular manslaughter. While this offense is rarely charged as a misdemeanor, a prosecutor or judge may concur to reduce the felony sentence to a misdemeanor following the evidence brought before him or her at the preliminary hearing.
The defendant would be prosecuted for gross vehicular manslaughter under the influence if his or her underlying driving conduct was questionable. Vehicular manslaughter is always a felony punishable by a sentence to prison.
When faced a potential felony, drivers should acquire DUI legal representation as soon as possible. Working with experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyers can intervene before the offense has been filed and validate why a wobble should be charged as a misdemeanor or dropped altogether.
Whether you’ve been charged with a DUI felony offense or misdemeanor, it’s imperative to get legal representation from Los Angeles DUI attorneys as soon as possible. The high chances are that your wobbler DUI charges will be reduced or rejected altogether when you contact an attorney early on.