Most offenses for driving while intoxicated result in misdemeanor charges. However, DUIs that meet certain conditions can result in felony charges.
When does a DUI offense become a felony?
When a DUI may be a felony
Pennsylvania Act 153 established the criteria for felony DUI offenses in 2018. DUI offenses may result in third-degree felonies if they meet one of several conditions:
- You have three previous DUI convictions in the last 10 years
- You have two previous DUI convictions in the last 10 years and you have a minor in your car
- Your blood alcohol content is twice the legal limit of 0.08% or more
You may face a prison sentence of up to seven years if your third-degree felony DUI charge results in a conviction.
Other times DUI offenses may result in felony charges
There are additional circumstances when the prosecutor may file felony charges for a DUI that would normally be a misdemeanor:
- You cause an accident that seriously injuries someone
- You cause an accident that kills someone
- You receive a second DUI conviction while awaiting sentencing for homicide while driving under the influence
Depending on the circumstances, these offenses may result in either a first, second or third-degree felony with a potential prison sentence of three years to more than 10 years.
All DUI charges are serious offenses with potential long-term consequences. However, felony DUI charges can result in particularly harsh penalties, making it important to mount a strong defense or attempt to get these charges reduced.