When Is a DUI a Felony in Miami?

Police pulling car over with lights going

Driving under the influence has become a top priority for law enforcement and lawmakers in Florida, which is why DUI convictions today – even for first-time offenses – carry severe consequences.

But while most DUI charges handled in Florida courts are misdemeanors, there are situations when they can be charged as felonies. And when they are, the stakes are raised exponentially.

At Hubbs Law Firm, our award-winning criminal defense team has handled countless DUI cases in courts across Miami, Broward County, and beyond. With a thriving DUI defense practice, we know just how serious things get when charges are elevated to felonies, and why it’s vital for defendants to work with proven lawyers capable of handling these high stakes cases.

Factors That Can Elevate a DUI Charge to a Felony

Under Florida law (§ 316.193), there are a few ways that DUIs can be elevated to felonies. These include:

  • Third DUI Within 10 Years: A third DUI offense within 10 years can result in felony charges, an indication of how seriously Florida takes repeat offenders. If convicted, this third-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. The court will also require drivers to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for a minimum of two years.
  • Fourth DUI, Regardless of Time Frame: Even if more than 10 years have passed since any previous convictions, a fourth DUI offense in Florida will automatically be classified as a third-degree felony. As with a third conviction, offenders face heightened fines and up to 5 years in prison, with the potential for a permanent revocation of their driver's license as well.
  • DUI Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury: DUI accidents resulting in serious bodily injury are third-degree felonies punishable by up to a $5,000 fine, up to 5 years in prison, and the potential for court-ordered restitution. This felony enhancement exists regardless of who was injured, be it someone in another vehicle or your own passenger. The severity of injuries sustained by victims can also impact the severity of penalties.
  • DUI Resulting in Death: A DUI in Florida that results in the death of another person, whether a pedestrian, another motorist, or a passenger, is prosecuted as DUI Manslaughter. As a second-degree felony, DUI manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Defendants may also be ordered to pay restitution.

As the most severe charge in our criminal justice system, felonies put serious penalties and prison time on the table. They also come with a host of collateral consequences that can haunt a person for years. This includes everything to the loss of certain constitutional rights (such as the right to vote or own a gun) and serious driving privilege repercussions to the loss of professional licensing and potential impacts on employment.

And as severe as the potential penalties may be for felony DUIs, there are still ways for prosecutors to seek even harsher sentences. This is especially true in felony DUI cases that also involve:

Charged With a Felony DUI? Act Now.

Whatever your charges entail, a felony DUI is nothing to mess with.

At Hubbs Law Firm, our attorneys understand that felony DUIs put our clients’ freedoms and futures on the line. It’s why we make ourselves available to provide immediate support and counsel, and why we leverage our insight to help clients explore all available strategies that can help them seek charge reductions, mitigated penalties, or even dismissals.

If you have questions about a Felony DUI case in Miami, call (305) 570-4802 or contact us online to request a FREE consultation.

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