Driving under the influence charges are often categorized as misdemeanors. However, there are some factors that can escalate the charges into a felony DUI, with stiffer fines and serious penalties, such as incarceration upon conviction.
One of the reasons behind felony DWI charges is a repeat offense. Under Heidi's Law, two prior DUI convictions allows prosecutors to charge the driver with a felony DUI for a third offense. Other factors that could lead to a felony DUI charge are serious injuries or death caused by the driver's actions.
In Sherman Township, Michigan, north of Ann Arbor, one driver may face felony DWI charges because his six-year-old passenger was injured following an accident. Based on the report, the 27-year-old driver was heading west on a road when his pickup truck veered off the highway, went into the ditch and crashed into several trees. The driver sustained minor injuries but he refused to receive treatment. One occupant inside the pickup truck, a six-year-old child, was airlifted from the scene of the crash to treat possible head injuries.
The driver was incarcerated and is now facing charges of child endangerment and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
In this case, the charges may turn into a felony due to the involvement of a child with serious injuries. If convicted, the suspected intoxicated driver will face serious consequences such as possible prison time. Establishing a DUI defense is necessary in order for the suspect to effectively argue his case with the jury and prosecutors. The driver may also seek legal representation to steer the case in his favor.
Here in Ann Arbor, an experienced criminal defense attorney will thoroughly investigate a felony DUI or DWI case. The assistance of an attorney can help the suspected drunk driver in proving his innocence or minimizing the consequences in court.
Source: WZZM13, "Man charged with OWI and child endangerment," Bob Brenzing, Sept. 26, 2013