A drunk or impaired driving (DUI) arrest can result in substantial penalties, including jail time, large fines, and loss of your driving license. While most DUI cases are misdemeanors, those that involve severe injury or death or have a preceding conviction could result in a felony charge. A conviction on a misdemeanor could impact your ability to get certain jobs or professional licenses, limit your ability to get credit, and even affect your housing and travel choices. Felony consequences are even more severe, and can include prison time and significant fines.
If you are facing felony DUI charges, it is essential that you seek legal counsel immediately. An Edina felony DUI lawyer could present a vigorous defense to the charges and ensure that you are treated fairly during the process.
Prior Convictions Can Lead to Felony DUI Charges
Minnesota Statute §169.24 defines first-degree driving while impaired, which is also known as felony DUI. A knowledgeable Edina attorney could be able to negotiate a reduced charge in a particular case. In other circumstances, fighting the charge on the merits might be the best strategy.
The qualifying events that elevate a misdemeanor DUI charge to a felony include being charged within ten years of the first of three DUI convictions or having previously been convicted of felony DUI. An individual also could face a felony DUI charge if they have previously been convicted of criminal vehicular homicide while impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants. Felony DUIs can also be charged when the defendant allegedly caused severe injury or death.
Felony DUIs carry penalties of up to seven years of incarceration and $14,000 in fines. An individual’s driving license could be “canceled,” which means that they do not qualify for a limited license to drive to work or school. A canceled license cannot be reinstated until the driver meets certain set criteria. Seizure of license plates and forfeiture of the vehicle is also possible after a felony DUI conviction.
Defending a Felony DUI Case
Felony DUI charges are challenging, but there are multiple ways a skilled Edina attorney could address the situation, depending on the circumstances. If law enforcement officers engaged in questionable conduct, an attorney could assert that the evidence was collected in violation of the defendant’s civil liberties.
An attorney could also challenge the sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence. Presenting evidence casting doubt on the accuracy of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) results is one tactic that could be successful in some cases. BAC testing is not foolproof, and a DUI charge based solely on BAC results could be challenged.
Another possible defense could involve questioning past convictions that support the felony charge. If the individual was not represented by a competent lawyer in prior proceedings, their attorney could raise this issue to assert that the conviction should not count against them in the current case.
Work with an Experienced Edina Felony DUI Attorney
A felony DUI conviction could permanently alter an individual’s prospects for a productive and fulfilling life. If you are facing a felony DUI charge, you deserve to have a seasoned legal professional in your corner.
An Edina felony DUI lawyer could assess your case and help you build a defense that challenges the prosecution’s claims against you. To learn more about what a skilled member of our legal team could do for you, call today.