In Arizona, there are a number of ways that you can wind up with felony charges on a DUI. Here are a few of the most common infractions that result in felony DUIs in Arizona:
- Driving on a license that’s been suspended for DUI.
- Driving in violation of an ignition interlock device.
- Conviction of three DUIs within 7 years (includes prior DUIs that occur outside of Arizona).
You can also wind up with a felony DUI if you get stopped and you have children in the car. This will almost always be charged as a felony.
There are other ways you can receive a felony DUI as well, especially if the DUI involves a collision or accident. For instance, if you have an accident, hit a sign or a tree, and cause damage of more than $2,000.00, the prosecutor can and often will charge you with a felony for “criminal damage”. This is bad news for a lot of people, and can happen even if it’s your first DUI offense.
The Difference Between a Misdemeanor DUI and a Felony DUI
Obviously, the difference between a felony DUI and a misdemeanor DUI is large—while a misdemeanor on your record is never a good thing, some people survive with them (I think a recent president of the United States had one, and his vice president had two)– a felony usually means the end of almost any professional career. Sometimes even the indictment alone is enough to cause people lots of problems.
The penalties in these felonies vary widely, but they always involve, if convicted, lots of probation at best, prison at worst, jail for sure, and a revoked license followed by an interlock device for a long time. The long and the short of it is, you’re life changes dramatically and irrevocably, even if you’ve never been in trouble before.
Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
The more serious DUI cases are those where innocent people are hurt. In those cases prosecutors in Arizona sometimes charge more serious felonies, such as “Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon,” the car being the deadly weapon and the driver being the person in control of that weapon. These kinds of cases involve extremely harsh penalties such as mandatory prison. They, like all felonies, demand immediate attorney attention. These cases can be and often are charged even if a person has never been in trouble before. We see it happen all the time.