Prior Felony

San Diego Prior Felony DUI Conviction Lawyer 

Defending Against Prior Felony DUI Charges in California

In California, an individual can be charged with a felony DUI if they are arrested for a DUI and have a prior felony DUI conviction.

California Felony DUI Laws

California Vehicle Code section 23550.5 states:

  1. (a) A person is guilty of a public offense, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or confinement in a county jail for not more than one year and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) if that person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, and the offense occurred within 10 years of any of the following:
    1. A prior violation of Section 23152 that was punished as a felony under Section 23550 or this section, or both, or under former Section 23175 or former Section 23175.5, or both.
    2. A prior violation of Section 23153 that was punished as a felony.
    3. A prior violation of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of the Penal Code that was punished as a felony.

Understanding Felony DUI Charges in California

If you receive a DUI within 10 years of a prior felony DUI conviction, then you may be charged with a felony DUI, even if you only have one prior conviction. When you are charged with a felony DUI, the court will enhance the penalties, such as time in prison. You are not actually charged with a separate count for a felony DUI. Rather, you will be charged with DUI, i.e. Vehicle Code 23152(a) & (b), and the prosecutor will allege you have a prior felony DUI conviction.

What the prosecutor must prove to convict an individual for a felony DUI is identical to a first offense misdemeanor DUI, with one exception: the prosecutor must also prove you were actually convicted of a prior felony DUI. If your prior is from California, then the prosecutor can obtain the abstract of judgment, which can prove the prior so long as it occurred within ten years. But, an experienced DUI Firm can challenge the validity of the prior if your case is handled properly.

Strategies to Challenge Prior DUI Convictions

Although a prior conviction may be valid, there are ways to challenge the prior. For example, courts consider the ten year period to run from the date you were convicted of the prior felony DUI to the day you were arrested for DUI. If the prior DUIs or reduced alcohol related driving offenses are within the ten-year window, then the court may find the prior to be valid. A Firm that specializes in DUI defense may be able to challenge the priors as being outside of the 10 year window.

What if my prior felony DUI occurred outside of California? You can still be charged with a felony DUI if your prior felony DUI conviction occurred outside of California, even if the conviction was for a reduced alcohol related driving offense. Nonetheless, a Firm specializing in DUI Defense may be able to challenge the out-of-state prior because many states only require it.


Since the establishment of this law firm in 1998, we have strived to provide our clients with the highest quality representation and a level of customer service that is unparalleled by any firm anywhere.
  • Super Lawyers
  • The National College for DUI Defense
  • California DUI Lawyers Association
  • Avvo Rating 10
  • Best of the Bar
  • National Trial Lawyers
  • Trial Skills University
  • Avvo Clients' Choice Award


Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We are here to help. Still have questions or can't find the answer you need? Give us a call at 619-930-5490 today!

  • I was not drunk. Can I be charged with DUI for smoking marijuana or taking prescription medications?
    If you were arrested for DUI but didn’t have alcohol in your system, you can still be charged with DUI. There are a number different charges associated with misdemeanor and felony DUI. You can be charged with an (f) count if you consumed any intoxicating drugs, regardless of whether they are illegal or prescription. But, if you were under the influence of both alcohol and drugs, then you can be charged with an (e) count for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
  • Aren’t the police supposed to read me my Miranda rights?
    It seems like common sense that an officer must read you your Miranda rights. Although this is true in a situation where you are being interrogated, for purposes of DUI, you don’t have that same right. Many times an officer will ask you questions prior to administering field sobriety tests and placing you under arrest. These questions have been classified as “pre-investigatory” questions and are not subject to Miranda. Therefore, it is important you speak with an experience DUI Defense Firm to know whether or not the failure to read you your rights will affect your case.
  • I was involved in an accident and someone was injured. Will I be charged with a Felony?
    Maybe. You can be charged with Felony DUI whenever anyone other than yourself is injured. Even if the injuries were to a friend and their injuries are minor, you can still be charged with a felony. Penalties for a Felony DUI can be severe because your can face time in prison.

Contact Us

For Immediate Help
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy