Normally, anyone who gets arrested for a minor DUI offense will only be charged as having committed a misdemeanor crime. However, if the driver managed to get into a serious accident while they were drunk and they injured other people along the way, their crime will immediately change its classification and their crime will be treated as a felony.
Being charged with a felony is obviously a lot worse than being charged with a misdemeanor crime as it can leave a person with a serious criminal record alongside leading them to face heftier fines and more jail time as well.
What will happen with my case if it is classified as a felony?
If an officer decides to charge the drunk driver on the grounds of a felony the case will be examined by the county prosecutor. The county prosecutor will decide whether the case should proceed as a felony or whether it should be treated as a misdemeanor crime.
If a person gets the news that their case is being held at the county level they have every reason to worry because that means they will be charged a lot more severely than if the case had been returned to the municipal level. The driver will most likely be pressed with the following charges:
Second-degree crime- Assault by auto or vehicular assault is considered a second-degree crime if it occurred in a school zone and lead to serious injuries. A person can face a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Third-degree crime- Assault by auto or vehicular assault is considered a third-degree crime if a person was driving against the DUI statute and there was serious bodily injury involved in their accident. For such a charge, a person can face a maximum of five years in prison
Fourth-degree crime- Assault by auto or vehicular assault is considered a fourth-degree crime if bodily injury is caused but a person was not in violation of the DUI statute. Under this charge, a person can face a maximum of 18 months in prison.
When should I contact a DUI lawyer?
The general rule of thumb when it comes to DUI cases is that the more damage a person causes, the more in need they are of having legal assistance by their side. If a person got into an accident but there were no serious injuries involved, the case will generally remain on the municipal level and will not be classified as a felony.
No matter what sort of charges a person is being pressed with, however, it is always best to get legal consultation before presenting oneself in court. A lawyer in Newark, New Jersey who is educated on the laws and regulations regarding DUI can assist a person in building their case and can advise a person on the best course of action they can take in order to be free from facing very serious charges. If a person gets arrested for drunk driving in Newark, New Jersey they shouldn’t hesitate to call an attorney from the Law Office of Eric M. Mark to assist them with their case.