There are some crimes that are always charged as felonies, like murder. However, crimes like driving under the influence in Florida can become either felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances.
If the State of Florida is charging you with a DUI, you must understand whether they are doing so as a misdemeanor or a felony. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are four main ways that the courts may charge you with a felony in Florida for DUI.
Typically, the courts will only charge you with a felony if you are racking up multiple DUI charges. For instance, if you receive a third DUI within 10 years of the previous DUI conviction, the courts will charge you with a felony of the third degree. You may spend up to five years in prison and pay a fine no higher than $5,000.
The next way a Florida DUI becomes a felony is if the courts convict you of a 4th DUI. There is no time limit between DUIs for this. This is another felony of the third degree.
DUI and bodily injury
The next two ways for a Florida DUI to be a felony concern hurting or killing somebody else. If the DUI involves serious bodily injury, even if it is to a person within the driver’s own vehicle, this becomes a felony DUI. Again, this is a felony of the third degree.
The fourth and final way is if the DUI involves the death of another human being or an unborn child. This is DUI manslaughter and is a felony of the second degree. You may spend up to 15 years in prison and pay up to $10,000.