A DUI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony not only in Vista, but anywhere in California. A misdemeanor is any crime where the maximum available custody is 1 year or less in county jail. A felony is any crime where the maximum available sentence includes state prison or prison commit in excess of 1 year, regardless whether the defendant gets any custody. A felony "Drunk Driving" is any case which includes an injury to another person negligently caused by an impaired driver or driver with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more. Also any fourth DUI within 10 years is a felony as is any DUI within 10 years of a felony DUI.
All other DUI cases, first, second or third offenses within 10 years are misdemeanors even if there is an accident as long as there is no injury and no prior felony DUI within 10 years. Despite the fact these cases are not felonies, they carry significant penalties including substantial local custody. A third offense within 10 years, carries a minimum 120 days custody and up to a year, 3 year loss of license, significant fines along with an 18 month program and 5 years of probation.
Driving under the influence or with a .08 B.A. or more is a serious offense and can have a significant effect on anyones life with the loss of license, possible custody, programs, significant fines, higher insurance, criminal record and evan impact employment, immigartion, careers, and many other facets of a person's life. It is important to contact an experienced DUI Defense attorney as soon as possible after arrest becuse of limitations on setting DMV hearings to challenge any license suspension, also to be able to relate the facts of your case to an attorney while it is still fresh. Christoph Law Offices, located for over 30 years across from Vista Courts, have handled over 3000 DUI cases. Call Attoreney Nicholas or William Christoiph at 760-941-5720 for a free consultation and evaluation.