Los Angeles Wobbler DUI Offenses
The majority of driving under the influence cases in Los Angeles are misdemeanors level offenses; however there are circumstances where a DUI may be filed as a felony. Felonies are the most serious category of criminal offenses and those who are convicted of a felony can face prison or jail with extensive conditions of probation. Many DUI offenses can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. These offenses are commonly referred to as “wobblers.” Anyone arrested for a “wobbler” DUI offense should contact a qualified Los Angeles DUI Attorney as soon as possible as the early involvement and intervention of an attorney may prevent a felony filing.
There are several circumstances where a DUI offense may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. When a driver has had three or more prior DUI convictions within the previous ten years, the fourth or subsequent DUI can be charged as a felony under California Vehicle Code Section 23550 VC. While a fourth or subsequent DUI is usually charged as a felony, it is technically a wobbler offense that can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. If convicted of this offense as either a felony or a misdemeanor, the defendant must be sentenced to serve at least 180 days in jail. If convicted as a felony, the defendant can be sentenced to prison and will be designated a habitual traffic offender. In addition, the DMV will revoke the defendant’s license for a period of at least four years.
A driver can also be charged with a felony if he or she is charged with DUI causing injury in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23153 VC or vehicular manslaughter while under the influence pursuant to California Penal Code Section 191.5(b) VC. These are both “wobbler” offenses and the filing prosecutor will consider the underlying circumstances of the offense and the defendant’s prior criminal record when making a filing decision.
DUI causing injury can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Typically, prosecutors will look at factors such as the severity of the injuries suffered and the defendant’s driving conduct when making a filing decision. Regardless of whether the case is filed as a felony or a misdemeanor, the defendant would be required to pay restitution to the victim for any injuries incurred if convicted of this offense.
If the defendant is involved in a DUI collision that results in the death of another person, he or she can be charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated which is a wobbler offense. This offense is rarely filed as a misdemeanor; however a judge or prosecutor may agree to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor after hearing all of the evidence at the defendant’s preliminary hearing. If the defendant’s underlying driving conduct was especially bad, he or she can be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in violation of California Penal Code Section 191.5(a) PC. This offense is always a felony and those convicted can be sentenced to prison.
Drivers facing potential felony charges should retain experienced DUI counsel as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can intervene before charges have been filed and demonstrate to the detective or filing prosecutor why a wobbler should be filed as a misdemeanor or rejected outright.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a DUI offense that could potentially be a felony, it is crucial that you meet with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer immediately. Los Angeles DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who fights hard on behalf of his clients charged with wobbler DUI offenses and has had great success in getting cases reduced and even rejected.
For more information about Los Angeles wobbler DUI offenses, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.