There are three ways you can end up getting convicted of a felony DUI charge in Riverside – due to injuring someone, getting three other DUIs, or having a prior felony DUI conviction on your record. Any one of these circumstances will result in hefty penalties if you end up being found guilty.
It’s important to understand the potential consequences of a felony DUI conviction and the gravity of the situation you’re currently facing. The penalties associated with felony DUI charges are life-altering. Learn more about what to expect if you’ve been charged with a felony DUI charge in Riverside below.
1. Prison Time
Misdemeanor DUIs may come with jail time, but you can expect to receive a prison sentence for a felony DUI charge in Riverside. Depending on the severity of your DUI and the judge’s discretion, you could be in prison anywhere from 16 months to three years.
If aggravating factors were involved in your felony DUI charge, then you could face up to 16 years in prison. This is more likely if you caused an accident, drove at excessive speeds or were driving with a minor in the vehicle. If you caused death or severe injuries to others, then it’s likely you’ll get sentenced to significant prison time.
2. Significant Fines
Serving time in prison won’t be the end of your consequences after a felony DUI conviction. You’ll also be expected to pay significant amounts of fines. Expect to pay a minimum of $390 but up to $5,000 in fines alone.
You could end up paying even more if you caused an accident that led to property damage or injuries to other people. If that’s the case, then the court could order you to pay restitution as well. Further, you could face lawsuits in civil court that require you to pay even more in damages and legal fees.
3. Mandatory License Suspension and Ignition Interlock Device Installation
If your sentence requires you to install an Interlock Ignition device or attend rehabilitation, then you’ll incur the costs of those, too. As you can see, one conviction can end up costing you thousands of dollars.
Once you serve your prison time, paying off all those court fees and expenses will not be easy without a license. Due to your felony DUI conviction, you won’t be authorized to drive a vehicle for a minimum of a year. You could end up getting your license suspended for up to five years, though.
Further, the court will likely order you to install an Interlock Ignition device onto your car. This device requires you to breathe into it before your car will start. If alcohol is detected, then the vehicle won’t start.
4. Court-Ordered Rehabilitation
If you’re facing a felony DUI charge, then there’s a good chance that you’ve driven drunk before the recent arrest occurred. In many cases, this type of reckless behavior can indicate a substance abuse issue. That’s why you could get ordered to attend rehabilitation as a part of your sentence. Rehabilitation can help you if you struggle with alcohol addiction, but it’s also beneficial if you simply struggle to control yourself when it comes to drinking on occasion. If you take these courses seriously, then you will learn coping mechanisms and skills that can translate to other parts of your life, too.
Once you get out of prison, you’ll likely need to endure months (or years) on probation. Probation allows you more freedom, but you’ll still need to submit to random alcohol tests. You’ll be supervised closely, and you’ll need to report to a probation officer on a regular basis. Depending on your situation, you may face other restrictions like:
- Remaining employed
- Not traveling out of state
- Informing the officer about where you live
- Informing the officer about the type of car you drive
- GPS monitoring
Felony probation in California will typically last about 3-5 years after you serve your time. Any violations could land you back in prison.
6. Listed as a Habitual Traffic Offender
Another consequence of getting a felony DUI is getting listed as a habitual traffic offender. This label indicates that you have a history of dangerous driving, which means your driving will be scrutinized in the future. Remember – being afforded a license is a privilege that can be revoked by the state of California. Once you get labeled as a habitual traffic offender, you could face harsh penalties for future traffic violations, increased insurance rates, and even more scrutiny by local police officers when they see you driving in public.
7. Losing Your Rights After a Conviction
Once you’ve been convicted of a felony DUI in Riverside, you’ll automatically lose some of your rights. You’ll no longer be eligible to vote, and you won’t be able to possess or purchase any firearms, either. You won’t be eligible for jury service anymore, and you may even lose the ability to travel outside of the country. Your employment opportunities will be limited in the future, and you could even relinquish some of your parental rights.
Consequences to Expect After a Felony DUI Charge in Riverside
As you can see, a felony DUI charge in Riverside can change your life if you get convicted. Not only will you serve time in state prison, but you’ll also be expected to pay fines, attend court-ordered rehabilitation, and lose many of your rights.
So, how can you avoid or at the very least mitigate these consequences if you’re facing a felony DUI charge in Riverside?
Contact an Experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI Defense Attorney Today
The best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney who will help you fight for the best possible legal outcome. Here at Wallin & Klarich, our team of skilled attorneys have over 40+ years of experience representing clients accused of felony DUI charges in Riverside. Contact our Riverside office now to speak with one of our experts about your situation.