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Felony DUI in Fresno

What is felony DUI in Fresno?

The state of California has a number of alcohol-related driving offenses that are serious enough to be charged at the felony level. In Fresno, you can be charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense if law enforcement officers determine that you have been driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of a 0.08 percent or higher. While most California DUI offenses are considered to be misdemeanors, it is important to be aware of the specific situations in which a DUI is considered a felony.

There are three situations where a DUI will be charged as a felony:

  1. A fourth DUI within 10 years of 3 prior misdemeanor DUI's;
  2. A DUI causing injury to another person; and
  3. A DUI within 10 years of a prior felony DUI.

If you caused injuries to another person, the elements of the Felony DUI are:

  • You must commit some type of traffic violation (i.e., speeding) or neglect a duty imposed by law;
  • You must have injured a third-party; and
  • The injury must have been caused by the traffic violation you committed or the neglected duty.

Take note that all three elements must be proven in order for your DUI offense to be considered a felony in the state of California.

The Three Strikes Law in California

You should also be aware that in Fresno and the rest of the state of California that the California State Legislature has instituted a strict Three Strikes Law. This law is designed to provide specific sentences to offenders who are arrested for and convicted of multiple violent and serious felonies. In other words, once this type of offender receives a so-called “third strike,” they will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of applying for parole after serving 25 calendar years. While not all DUI offenses in the state of California fall within the parameters of the Three Strikes Law, serious offenses that involve severe injuries and/or death are considered to be within the scope of the law. Obviously, if you are charged under this law will result in higher fines, longer periods in jail and an extended driver's license suspension.

What are the penalties for a felony DUI in Fresno?

Felony DUI penalties are serious in the state of California and must be treated as such. For example, the possible consequences of being convicted of felony DUI in Fresno can result in fines reaching up to $3,000, additional legal fees, a minimum jail sentence of 180 days if probation is granted or a sentence to state prison if probation is not granted and revocation of your driver's license.

Additionally, the state of California requires that a felony DUI offender to attend an alcohol/DUI education program. The specific program selected will be determined based upon your individual case. However, your alcohol/DUI education program will range from 18-30 months and can cost you well over $1,000. A 30-month program consists of counseling, alcohol and drug education, community service and individual interviews.

Your insurance after a Fresno DUI

Your liability insurance will be impacted after a conviction for a felony DUI in the state of California. A common auto insurance policy required for drivers who are convicted of DUI related offenses is known as an SR22 policy. Once you are eligible to have your license reinstated, you will be able to purchase the SR22 insurance. Once purchased, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be notified that you are eligible to have your driver's license reinstated. Generally, in the state of California, you will be required to continue to notify the DMV for approximately three years after your driver's license has been reinstated.

Contact an attorney

If you are facing charges related to a first offense DUI, do not think that your only choice is to plead guilty. Take a moment to contact Terry A. Wapner and schedule a consultation in order to discuss the facts of your case and be advised of your options.

What Happens Now?

Roadside arrest

It’s a frightening situation. You are arrested for DUI after submitting to a breathalyzer and participating in a couple of field sobriety tests. The officer confiscated your driver’s license and provided you with a temporary license. You were given a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Now what? Fresno DUI attorney, Terry A. Wapner, can help you make sense of this situation, guide you through the process, and might be able to provide the defense that results in finding you Not Guilty!

Myths & Truths About DUI Charges


Myth: “There is nothing that a Fresno DUI defense lawyer can do.” Truth: Absolutely not true. Over the past 7-10 years, the conviction rate in California for DUI's is only around 70 percent. That means that 30 percent of the charges are being reduced to charges that are less than a DUI charge or not guilty verdicts are being returned. I have the ability and have won Fresno DUI cases. Do not give in to despair and believe that you are destined to lose. Entering a guilty plea to a DUI charge when the evidence against you can be challenged may result in an expensive mistake that could haunt you in the long run.