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Don't let a driving under the influence charge bring you down

The police taking you into custody for drunk driving can understandably be a frightening ordeal. Your future may flash before your eyes as flashing police lights surround you in a nightmarish reality.

Although a first-time DUI charge is generally a misdemeanor charge, certain situations might raise the criminal charge's level to that of a felony. This can be especially unsettling since felony convictions related to driving under the influence carry longer-lasting consequences and stricter penalties compared with misdemeanor convictions.

What may lead to a felony charge

Various common scenarios may lead to a felony charge of driving under the influence. For instance, in Florida, if you drove while intoxicated and caused someone to suffer serious bodily harm as a result, you will face a felony charge. However, if you are driving drunk and someone else runs into you and receives an injury, your charge will still be a misdemeanor since you did not cause the other party's bodily harm.

You can also expect a felony drunk driving charge if you have already had more than one prior DUI conviction within the past few years. In addition, causing someone to lose his or her life in a DUI accident is a surefire way to receive a felony charge.

How a felony DUIcan impact your future

If you face a felony drunk driving charge, you may end up spending time behind bars and having to pay heavy fines. In addition, you may have trouble claiming certain jobs in the future, including jobs that require you to be behind the wheel. Even renting a car may be challenging with a DUI on your criminal record.

How to ensure that you have the best defense possible

Just because you face a felony charge of driving under the influence does not mean you are immediately guilty. In fact, you are presumed innocent until and unless the prosecution can prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. This standard is in place in an effort to protect innocent individuals from receiving convictions and related punishments for crimes they did not commit.

Rather than going to trial, you may opt to seek to negotiate a plea agreement with prosecutors, which might lead to a more lenient sentence than what would result following a guilty verdict at trial. Whether you go to trial or seek a plea deal, an attorney will push for the most personally favorable outcome for you in light of the circumstances surrounding your arrest for driving under the influence.