Is Getting a DUI a Felony?

In most states, a charge of DUI, or driving under the influence, is classified as a misdemeanor, according to FindLaw. However, DUI charges can be raised to felony level if certain circumstances occur. For example, if the driver has previous DUI convictions, the charge can be enhanced to felony status.

Other reasons that a DUI charge may be enhanced to a felony include if the driver has an elevated blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, that is greater than a certain level. As of October 2014, every state has this level set at 0.08. Drivers who caused bodily harm during the commission of the DUI or who are caught driving drunk with minor children in the vehicle may also face felony charges, according to FindLaw.

The punishment for felony DUI usually results in a large fine or a jail sentence of one year or more. In the case of a misdemeanor DUI, the punishment involves a smaller fine or jail time of one year or less.