In most cases, a drunk driving offense in Minnesota is considered to be a misdemeanor. However, there are many reasons why the charge could be upgraded to a felony. For instance, you could face a felony DUI charge if a child was in the car when police made contact with you or if you were driving while impaired on a suspended license.
Previous convictions might come into play
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI in the past, this could be used as a justification to upgrade a misdemeanor charge to a felony. While many states only recognize convictions that occurred in the last decade, some will take previous convictions into account regardless of when they occurred.
An accident resulted in bodily injury or property damage
You may be charged with felony DUI if you caused an accident resulting in bodily injury or property damage while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You could face enhanced penalties if the person who was hurt or killed in the crash was a passenger in your own vehicle.
Other factors that might result in a felony DUI charge
There are many other factors that might cause a misdemeanor DUI charge to become a more serious felony offense. For instance, if your BAC was significantly higher than the legal limit, you may face additional penalties if convicted. The same might be true if you refused to take a blood, breathalyzer or another type of test. If you broke other laws while driving under the influence, it could result in an enhanced charge or penalties.
A DUI conviction may result in a significant interruption to your life. If you lose your driver’s license, you may find it difficult to get to work, attend school or spend time with your children. You may also lose custody of your children if you’re convicted of driving under the influence. A criminal law professional may help you obtain a favorable plea deal or get the charge dropped prior to a trial.