Los Angeles Felony DUI Lawyer

Los Angeles Felony DUI Lawyer: Everything You Need to Know

Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is scary enough, but facing felony DUI charges in Los Angeles can feel downright terrifying. The stakes are so much higher with a potential felony conviction – we’re talking possible jail time, thousands in fines, loss of driving privileges, and collateral damage to your career, immigration status, and civil rights.

When you’re facing this kind of serious criminal charge, it’s absolutely critical that you have an experienced Los Angeles felony DUI lawyer on your side. The right attorney can analyze the details of your case, spot potential defenses, and fight aggressively to protect your future. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about felony DUIs in LA and how a skilled drunk driving defense lawyer can help.

What Makes a DUI a Felony in California?

There are a few specific circumstances that can turn misdemeanor DUI charges into a felony offense in California[1]:

  • It’s the driver’s fourth DUI offense in 10 years
  • The driver has a prior felony DUI conviction on their record
  • The DUI accident caused injury or death to another person
  • There was a minor passenger in the vehicle when the DUI occurred

Let’s break these down in more detail:

Fourth DUI Offense

A fourth DUI charge within 10 years of the first will be filed as a felony under California law. This is true even if the first three offenses were charged as misdemeanors[2].

The 10-year “washout period” means your record must stay clean for a full decade before the count restarts. For example, if you had DUIs in 2015, 2018, and 2022, a new DUI arrest in 2023 would be a felony.

Prior Felony DUI

If you were previously convicted of a felony DUI, any new DUI arrest can also be charged as a felony – even if it’s been 10+ years. The key is having that prior felony DUI conviction on your record.

DUI Accident with Injury or Death

When a DUI driver causes an injury accident, they may face additional felony charges beyond the standard DUI. For example:

  • DUI causing serious bodily injury – can be charged as felony assault with a deadly weapon (the vehicle). This carries 1-4 years in state prison[3].
  • DUI causing death – can be charged as felony vehicular manslaughter. This can mean up to 6 years in prison[4].

The severity of injury and number of victims may increase the potential sentence. Your attorney can negotiate reduced charges as part of a plea bargain.

DUI with a Minor Passenger

If there was a minor (under age 14) riding in the vehicle when you were arrested for DUI, prosecutors can add felony child endangerment charges under California Penal Code 273a. This exposes you to further jail time and fines[5].

As you can see, these felony DUI circumstances have life-changing implications. The penalties are severe compared to a misdemeanor DUI. That’s why it’s so important to have an advocate in your corner from day one.

How a Los Angeles Felony DUI Lawyer Can Defend Your Rights

Facing any criminal charge is scary. But felony charges that threaten your freedom, finances, family, and future are downright terrifying. The instinct is often to plead guilty just to end the nightmare.

Resist that urge! The experienced Los Angeles felony DUI lawyers at [Chudnovsky Law][6] always advise clients: do NOT plead guilty until you’ve explored your options with a lawyer.

An attorney can evaluate the evidence, identify procedural problems or illegal police conduct, and potentially get charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial. If the case does go to trial, they can aggressively confront all evidence against you before a judge or jury.

You have constitutional rights – including the right to legal representation and to refute questionable evidence. An LA DUI lawyer knows how to fight back against rights violations that can get key evidence thrown out.

Some of the most common defenses they may use include:

  • Illegal traffic stop – If police lacked reasonable suspicion to pull you over, all subsequent evidence can be excluded.
  • Faulty field sobriety tests – These tests have [high error rates] and may have been improperly administered.
  • Invalid chemical test – Problems with blood, breath or urine testing can call BAC results into question.
  • Medical conditions – Some medical issues like diabetes mimic signs of intoxication during FSTs.
  • Involuntary intoxication – You unknowingly ingested something that reacted with prescribed medication.
  • Miscalculated BAC – Errors in converting or estimating your BAC from the chemical test.
  • Rising BAC – Your BAC was lower when driving but continued rising until the test.

Without a skilled DUI lawyer, you may never realize these defenses apply to your case. And if you plead guilty without their advice, you lose all ability to fight back later on.

That’s why it’s critical to have legal experts like [Chudnovsky Law][6] analyze the arrest details before you make any admissions. This gives you the strongest position for getting charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial.

And if your case does go to trial, an experienced Los Angeles felony DUI attorney has the courtroom skills to attack the prosecution’s arguments. They know how to create reasonable doubt in the minds of judges and juries.

How a Felony DUI Conviction Can Impact Your Life

The penalties for a felony DUI go far beyond jail time and fines. This type of conviction can have devastating collateral consequences that impact every area of your life:

Driver’s License

A felony DUI conviction brings an automatic 1-3 year driver’s license suspension. You may also need to complete DUI school and pay license reinstatement fees before getting your driving privileges back.

Immigration Status

Any felony conviction can bring immigration consequences like deportation or denial of citizenship for visa holders.

Professional Licenses

Felony convictions can cause you to lose professional licenses and career opportunities in healthcare, education, real estate, law, and other fields.

Gun Ownership

Felons lose the ability to legally own firearms or ammunition under both state and federal law.

Voting and Jury Service

Felony convictions strip your civil rights like the ability to vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office.

Child Custody

Judges may use a felony DUI when deciding child custody and visitation rights in a divorce or family law case.

Housing and Loans

Landlords and lenders can deny housing or credit applications due to a felony conviction.

This barely scratches the surface of how a felony DUI can derail multiple areas of your life. And if you plead guilty without exploring defenses, you may be stuck with these consequences.

That’s why the smartest first move is calling an attorney like [Chudnovsky Law][6] for a free case evaluation. They can analyze the arrest details and help you make informed decisions about how to proceed.

FAQs About Los Angeles Felony DUI Defense

If you’re worried about facing felony drunk driving charges in LA, some common questions may be running through your mind. Here are answers to a few of the most frequent concerns:

What will happen to my driver’s license if I’m convicted?

A felony DUI conviction brings a mandatory DMV license suspension of 1-3 years. You’ll need to complete DUI classes, pay all fines, and apply for reinstatement to get your license back once the suspension ends.

Can I go to jail for a felony DUI even if it’s my first offense?

Yes, a felony DUI carries potential jail or prison time even without prior convictions. The circumstances of the incident (like injury, death, or child endangerment) make it a felony. First-timers can and do receive custodial sentences.

What if I can’t afford a DUI lawyer for my felony case?

If you cannot afford private counsel, ask the court to appoint a public defender at your first court appearance. They can provide legal defense services at no cost. However, their caseloads are often very heavy.

Should I just plead guilty and take the consequences?

No! Pleading guilty without exploring defenses closes off your options. A skilled lawyer may get charges reduced or dismissed pre-trial, saving you from dire consequences.

Can I fight my felony DUI if I failed the breath test?

Yes, absolutely. There are many ways to challenge breath, blood, or urine test results – including improper procedures, equipment errors, medical conditions, and more. Thorough investigation and defense can create reasonable doubt.

Don’t lose hope if you’re facing felony drunk driving charges in Los Angeles. The defense attorneys at [Chudnovsky Law][6] are here to help protect your rights, your freedom, and your future at this critical time. Call them today for a free consultation.


[1] https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/laws/dui/felony-dui/

[2] https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-many-duis-can-you-get-before-its-a-felony-in-california

[3] https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/dui/dui-with-injury/

[4] https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/dui/vehicular-manslaughter

[5] https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/dui/child-endangerment

[6] https://chudnovsky-law.com/