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Grand Rapids Felony DUI Charges
While most drunk driving offenses are misdemeanors, some are classified as felonies. If you are facing a Michigan DUI felony charge, you need to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced Grand Rapids DUI lawyer will fight to help you avoid the life-altering consequences that come with a driving under the influence conviction.
What is the difference between DUI misdemeanor and DUI felony? The biggest difference is where you are incarcerated—a misdemeanor can lead to jail time, while a felony may result in a prison sentence. The length of incarceration also varies. To be classified as a misdemeanor, the crime must be punishable by less than one year for a misdemeanor. If the crime is punishable by up to a year or more, then it is considered a felony. There are some exceptions to this, but that is the general rule.Felony DUI Penalties
In Michigan, you may be charged with a felony if this is your third drinking and driving offense. Michigan has lifetime lookback, so to be a felony you need only have two prior DUI convictions in your whole life. The penalties for felony DUI in Grand Rapids include one to five years in prison, with a minimum of 30 days that must be served. You may also be ordered to pay expensive fines, costs of prosecution, probation oversight fees, crime victims' rights fees, judgement fees, screening fees, the list goes on and on. You also face loss of driving privileges and may be ordered to complete dozens and dozens of hours of free work for the state. This is also known as community service. The judge may also order you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. You may also be ordered to forfeit your car.
Other extenuating circumstances can also lead to a felony charge. If you cause serious injury, serious impairment of a body function or death then you may also be brought up on Michigan DUI felony charges, even if this is your first drunk driving offense.
A felony conviction can also change your life in ways that you cannot imagine. Someone with a felony on their record is not eligible to hold many government positions. Convicted felons are prohibited from owning firearms and may have difficulty applying for loans, getting into college and may not be able to vote. And having a felony DUI conviction expunged from your record is simply not possible. DUI charges by statute cannot be expunged ever. It is a permanent life record.Defending a Felony DUI in Grand Rapids
It is important to find and hire a lawyer familiar with the prosecutors, police departments and judges in Grand Rapids. The Barone Defense Firm has maintained an office in Grand Rapids for many years, and their lead partner, Mr. Michael Boyle, has been a resident of the greater Grand Rapids area for his entire life. Such a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will be able to review the evidence, look for and find defenses other lawyers may miss. Then, such a lawyer can use this information to capitalize on their relationships and obtain great plea bargains that will avoid most or even all of the consequences listed above.Hiring an Attorney
As you can see, being convicted of a Michigan felony DUI is very serious. If this is your third DUI offense, or you had one of the extenuating circumstances listed above, you should hire an attorney who focuses exclusively on DUI law.