The penalties for felony driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or driving while intoxicated (DWI) vary depending upon the state. Many of the states have adopted sentencing guidelines that are similar to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Under these guidelines, the states usually provide a sentencing range for each type of offense and provide aggravating and mitigating circumstances that can be used to increase or decrease the sentence.
In most states, a felony conviction will include various different penalties. The most common penalties include imprisonment, fines, license revocations, vehicle impoundment, and substance abuse programs. In addition, some states require, following a defendant’s license suspension period, the mandatory use of ignition interlock devices while operating a motor vehicle. These devices are similar to a breathalyzer that is installed in a vehicle’s dashboard. Before the vehicle can be started, the driver must breathe into the device. If the analyzed results are over a preprogrammed blood alcohol concentration, the vehicle will not start.
Many states also require mandatory sentences of imprisonment for felony convictions. For example, a felony conviction in Florida carries a sentence of up to five years imprisonment, with a 30 day mandatory imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000, permanent license revocation, and impoundment of the vehicle. In Montana, a felony conviction requires, in addition to fines and a license revocation, 13 months imprisonment, with no eligibility for parole or suspended sentence, concurrent with a five year suspended sentence.
The sentences for felony convictions of DUI or DWI can be very severe. If you have been charged with a felony DUI or DWI you should immediately consult an experienced criminal law attorney. An experienced attorney can advise you on how to proceed in order to best protect your legal rights.
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