While a DUI is a traffic offense, it is also criminal. Many times, the charge is a misdemeanor, but DUIs can also become felonies.
It is important to understand the charge against you. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety explains a DUI charge could become a felony depending on the circumstances of the situation and your history.
A felony charge for a DUI occurs if you have had three previous charges within seven years. You will receive the punishment for a habitual DWI.
Besides now having a felony criminal record, which comes with a range of restrictions and consequences, you also face mandatory sentencing. The state applies a minimum jail term of one year for a habitual DWI designation. The court cannot suspend the sentence. You will serve at least a year in jail.
The designation also requires that you complete a substance abuse program. You must do this while in jail or as part of your parole. This is not optional. You will remain in the system until you meet this requirement.
Repeat offenders will also lose the right to drive, and an officer may seize the vehicle you are driving when he or she arrests you for the DUI. If the officer does not take the vehicle, a judge can later order it when you go to court for your hearing. If you were driving someone else’s car, he or she can get it back, but they must prove to the court they had no fault in the incident.
Because of the severity of a felony DUI charge, you should take any DUI charge against you seriously. You need to mount a solid defense to avoid the felony designation.