When does a DUI misdemeanor become a DUI felony?

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Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is defined as the act of operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. The legal limit in all 50 states is a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 percent.

The penalties for drunk driving tend to differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A DWI is usually considered to be a misdemeanor, but some cases it can be regarded as a felony. According to federal law, the term felony is used to refer to any criminal offense which is punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year. A misdemeanor refers to any criminal offense which is punishable by imprisonment for one year or less.

Generally, a DUI is a felony when it's a repeated offense. A DUI felony may also be when a death or severe injuries to any individual are caused by a drunk driver. Some states treat this as a reckless homicide, which calls for more severe punishment.

DUI felony classifications rules vary by state. In New York, a second conviction for DUI in a stipulated time period is considered to be a felony. However, Georgia considers a fourth conviction of DUI as a felony. Therefore, it's important to find out the DUI laws in your specific state.

Alabama Causes accident with injury or is a fourth conviction.
Alaska Third offense or involves bodily injury.
Arizona Commits a third or subsequent offense within five years; occurs while a person under 15 years of age is in the vehicle.
Arkansas Fourth offense; children in the car; involved in an accident.
California Anyone with three prior drunk driving convictions within the past 10 years on the fourth arrest or someone who causes injury to another person charged with felony driving under the influence (DUI / DWI) within the past 10 years will be charged with another felony for any subsequent drunk driving arrests within that time period.
Colorado Accident causing injury or death; persons convicted of a third offense within seven years.
Connecticut BAC is of .17 or higher; if you are convicted of impaired driving in a crash in which a person is seriously injured or killed.
Delaware Occurring any time after three prior offenses.
Florida Third DUI within 10 years or a fourth or subsequent DUI; causes serious bodily injury; habitual/violent felony offender.
Georgia Fourth or subsequent convictions committed within 10 years are treated as felonies.
Hawaii Three or more prior convictions within the past 10 years.
Idaho Third offense within five years; fourth offense within 10 years; second offense within five years if the BAC level on both occasions was .20 or greater.
Illinois Third offense; second offense while transporting a child under 16; accident causes death or serious injury; no insurance; no valid license; occurred while driving a school bus carrying minor children.
Indiana Repeat traffic offenses over a 10 year period, including two major offenses resulting in injury or death or three major offenses including driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more.
Iowa Third offense; causes death or serious injury.
Kansas Involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence.
Kentucky Fourth offense.
Louisiana Third offense or second offense when the prior conviction is for Vehicular Homicide or First Degree Vehicular Injuring
Maine Causes serious bodily injury or death or has either a prior conviction for a felony OUI or OUI homicide.
Maryland DUI never becomes a felony without involving some fatal or serious injury.
Massachusetts Third offense.
Michigan Causes death or serious injury to another; three convictions in a lifetime.
Minnesota Fourth offense within 10 years or includes aggravating factors.
Mississippi Third offense within five years; results in death or disfigurement.
Missouri Third offense.
Montana Fourth or subsequent DUI.
Nebraska BAC above .15; fifth offense; causing serious injury.
Nevada An accident occurred that resulted in the death or substantial bodily harm of another person.
New Hampshire Having caused serious bodily injury (including injury to yourself) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
New Jersey All are misdemeanors.
New Mexico Fourth or subsequent DUI conviction.
New York Second offense or first time offenders driving while intoxicated or impaired with a child less than 16 years old in the vehicle.
North Carolina Fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years; if someone dies as a result of an accident caused by a drunk driver.
North Dakota Fifth or subsequent DUI conviction within seven years.
Ohio Fourth or subsequent DUI conviction.
Oklahoma Second DUI conviction within 10 years; accident resulting in great bodily injury; manslaughter.
Oregon Third or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years.
Pennsylvania Third or subsequent DUI conviction.
Rhode Island Third or subsequent DUI conviction within five years.
South Carolina Fourth offense or more; caused the death or bodily harm of another.
South Dakota Third or subsequent DUI conviction within five years.
Tennessee Fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years; vehicular homicide and assault; passenger under 13; aggravated vehicular assault.
Texas Third or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years; involves a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age.
Utah Third or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years; inflicted serious bodily injury upon another as a proximate result of having operated the vehicle in a negligent manner automobile homicide.
Vermont Third or subsequent DUI conviction; accident resulting in injury or death.
Virginia Third or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years; involuntary manslaughter.
Washington All DUI offenses are gross misdemeanors.
West Virginia Third or subsequent DUI convictions; involved in a crash involving serious injury or death.
Wisconsin Fifth or subsequent DUI conviction; vehicular homicide.
Wyoming Fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within five years; homicide by vehicle.
Washington DC Repeat offense; causes death or serious injury.

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