Fourth DUI as a Felony
California law allows a fourth DUI within ten years to be prosecuted as a felony. This requires proof that the new offense occured within ten years of three or more DUI or "Wet Reckless" violations that resulted in convictions. Vehicle Code section 23550 states that a person convicted under this section shall be punished by imprisonment, or in a county jail for not less than 180 days and not more than one year.
This means that a fourth DUI may be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. We call this type of offense a "wobbler". Most prosecuting agencies including the Los Angeles and Orange County district attorneys offices prosecute fourth offenses as felonies as a matter of routine. However, there remains discretion to reduce the offense to a misdemeanor in plea negotiations. This would be appropriate if there are relevant evidential difficulties or if the defendant earned consideration by efforts towards rehabilitation such as residential treatment.
A fourth offense also leads to a license revocation for four years per vehicle code section 13352(a)(7).
If you have been arrested for a felony DUI in Los Angeles or Orange County, please call Los Angeles and Orange County Felony DUI defense lawyers Gold & Witham for a consultation. Jeffrey Gold and Nigel Witham have over fourty years of combined experience defending felony DUI charges.