14 May, 2021

Is a DUI considered a criminal offense?  

Facing DUI charges can lead to a terrifying and complex legal situation that few people are qualified to handle on their own. 

If you have found yourself facing DUI charges, continue reading to learn about the penalties of DUI charges as well as whether or not a DUI is a criminal offense or get in touch with Leyba Defense today.  

Conceptual hand written text showing DUI driving under the influence
Conceptual handwritten text showing DUI driving under the influence

Is a DUI a Criminal Offense?

So is DUI a criminal offense? 

With the exception of a few select cases, DUIs are almost exclusively considered to be criminal offenses — meaning that they will show up in the future on criminal records as either a felony or misdemeanor (depending on the circumstances). 

What Determines If a DUI Is a Misdemeanor Or a Felony?

So is a DUI a misdemeanor or a felony? While both are technically criminal offenses, a misdemeanor is less severe than a felony. 

Whether or not a driver receives a misdemeanor or a felony for their DUI depends on a number of factors.

If it is a first-time DUI offense, the penalty will likely be a misdemeanor — with exceptions in the case of a violent DUI where another person suffers bodily injury because of the driver. If the driver has already had a prior DUI within the past several years, they may be charged with a felony. 

What Is the Penalty For a DUI? 

The punishments for DUIs vary widely depending on numerous factors. 

A couple of the factors that may contribute to the severity of the DUI punishment include:

  • BAC levels. 
  • Refusal to comply with a request from an officer to take a breathalyzer test. 
  • Whether or not the driver is a minor. 
  • If the driver is impaired from using illegal substances. 
  • If the driver has had a previous DUI within the past several years. 
  • If the driver has injured another person while operating the vehicle. 

These along with other factors may determine the severity of the punishment a driver who is charged with a DUI receives. 

As for the penalties themselves, they are often substantial with DUI cases. 

Some of the penalties a driver facing a DUI may incur include: 

  • Financial charges. Ranging from around $800 up to $5,000.
  • Jail time. With a minimum sentence of 24-hours in jail and a maximum sentence of 364 days.
  • License suspension. Ranging between 90-days up to two years. 
  • IID rental or purchase. You may be required to use an ignition interlock device for up to a year after DUI charges. 

Please keep in mind that the penalties listed above are for first-time DUI offenders and that penalties for compounding DUIs or under other circumstances may incur different penalties. 

What To Do If You Are Facing a DUI Criminal Offense 

If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges, it’s important to seek out qualified legal assistance to ensure that you are represented justly and that the charges don’t go on to haunt you into the future due to careless handling. 

Here at Leyba Defense, our expert defense attorney (Matthew Leyba) has years of experience working in criminal justice and traffic law. Matthew Leyba would be happy to schedule a consultation with you (free of charge for your first consultation) so that you can speak with a seasoned attorney about your charges. 

Get in touch with Leyba Defense today to schedule your first consultation and take back control of your legal situation.