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New Legislation Would Increase Felonies, Impoundment for Repeat DUIsThe California State Legislature has proposed a law that would institute harsher penalties for people who have been convicted for driving under the influence multiple times within a 10-year period. The law would create a mandatory felony conviction for certain repeat offenders, instead of giving the courts the option of a misdemeanor conviction. The law would also extend the length of time that a convicted offender’s vehicle could be impounded. If the law passes, these penalties would make DUI defense even more critical for those being charged.

Felony Charges

Under the current law, four or more DUI convictions within 10 years can be a misdemeanor or felony offense. The proposed law states that:

  • Five or more DUI convictions within 10 years would be a felony offense; and
  • For a person previously convicted for a felony DUI, a subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years must be a felony, instead of choosing between a misdemeanor and a felony.

The main difference between a misdemeanor and a felony conviction is the possible jail time. A court cannot sentence a person convicted for misdemeanor DUI for longer than a year in jail. A jail sentence for a felony DUI can be as long as three years. A felony conviction can also affect an offender’s ability to obtain employment, loans, housing, and professional licenses.

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