Anytime someone is found to have a blood alcohol content over the legal limit, they may face a misdemeanor DUI charge. However, there are times when certain circumstances can lead to a DUI charge being upgraded to a felony DUI in Tennessee. It is important to understand what a felony DUI charge may mean for your record and how it compares to a misdemeanor DUI charge.
A DUI can be upgraded if the DUI resulted in bodily harm of another. The distinction may be left up to prosecutors to decide if a felony charge is warranted. Also, if a child under 13 is in the vehicle at the time and that child is seriously injured, the DUI can constitute a felony charge.
The number of DUI convictions a person has on their record also influences whether a charge will be a misdemeanor or a felony DUI. If it is a fourth offense, the charge will automatically become a felony charge. However, if someone is killed in a DUI accident, the driver may face felony charges even if they have never had a DUI conviction before.
There is a dramatic difference between a misdemeanor and a felony charge of any kind. A felony DUI in Tennessee or any state can lead to longer time without a driver's license, higher fines and mandatory jail time. It is important to know what a felony DUI may mean for your individual situation and an experienced DUI attorney may be the best source for that information.
Source: dui.findlaw.com, "Felony DUI", , Sept. 3, 2014