If you have been charged for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and you have caused property damage during the arrest, then there are chances you may have additional consequences.
If there has been any kind of property damage that has been involved and leading up to your arrest, then the Judge will take that into consideration.
Many times if there is extensive damage, the DUI may be charged as a felony, but in many cases, it is charged as a misdemeanor with additional sentencing enhancements.
Let’s compare examples to get a better idea. Danielle is arrested on suspicion on DUI and she is brought before the criminal judge. When Danielle was driving, she hit a pole and caused slight damage to the hood of her car. The pole was not damaged. The reason Danielle was questioned for a DUI in the first place was because of the accident.
Now lets consider Dina. Dina is also arrested on suspicion of DUI and is brought before a criminal judge. However, while Dina was driving, her car jumped the curb and broke through someone’s fence and went into their backyard. The damage here was extensive and could have potentially injured someone if they were in their backyard at the time. Thankfully there were no injuries.
The damage in Danielle’s case is not severe and it is not extensive. Therefore, she may be charged with a DUI misdemeanor but could potentially face an enhancement if she is convicted. An enhancement is additional sentences added to the sentence of a DUI. The enhancements could include a longer alcohol program, extended probation, additional fines, or otherwise.
In comparison, Dina caused extensive damage. She could have potentially injured a person, not to mention that she caused damage to their property. It is likely that Dina will not be charged with a misdemeanor DUI with possible enhancements due to property damage. It is more likely that Dina will be charged with a felony DUI.
Whether a person is charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI is a determination made by the District Attorney after reviewing the facts. A felony DUI carries with it higher sentences and a harsher stigma. It has the potential of having jail sentences and formal probation.
Therefore, if you have been charged with a DUI that involves property damage, it is important to consult with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer. A professional with experience can prepare a powerful argument in your favor that will persuade the Prosecutor to not charge you with a felony DUI, but a misdemeanor with possible enhancements. The Attorney can then negotiate for the enhancements to be dismissed or reduced.