Elements of a Felony
In order to be accused of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, a few factors must be in play. The defendant must have operated a vehicle while over the legal limit of alcohol, they were within the court’s jurisdiction, and they were physically and mentally impaired by alcohol or a narcotic. Each state has its own unique qualifications for how ‘driving’ or ‘operating’ is defined. However, most states are uniform in saying that when a driver is physically operating a vehicle, he or she is capable of a DUI/DWI. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are obviously the most common vehicles involved in charges, but a wide spectrum of vehicles can be involved in allegations.
Legal Definition of Intoxication
Each states also has its own definition of intoxication is. Typically 0.8 is the number at which drivers can be charged with a traffic offense. However, different people react differently to alcohol, and if an individual operates a car while being impaired by alcohol, they can be charged, even if they are under the legal limit.
In most cases, a DUI or DWI is taken as misdemeanor, but can carry heavier consequences with it. A defendant could be charged with a felony for drinking and driving. If a driver hits or damages property, or if they injure another person, they will most be charged with a felony. California will charge the driver with a felony if the defendant was breaking a traffic or driving negligently. A driver may also receive a felony if they are convicted of multiple DUI or DWI’s within in a designated period of time. Alabama considers it a felony after four drinking and driving offenses with in a five year time period. In Michigan a driver will be charged with a felony on their third offense in ten years.