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What Type of Crime is DUI?

Drinking and driving is clearly a crime, of that there is no doubt. There is also no doubt that it deserves to be a crime because of how dangerous that act can be. But what kind of a crime is it? Crimes can come in a variety of different categories, each of which denotes its seriousness. And of course, the seriousness of the crime determines the harshness of the punishment. If you have been charged with a DUI and want to avoid the punishment associated with it, then make sure to contact Parikh Law to get the best defense possible.

The Different Types of Criminal Offenses

Criminal offenses come in three distinct categories, they are listed below in increasing order of seriousness.


These are sometimes called violations and are offenses that are punished by a fine or monetary penalty rather than jail time. Common examples of infractions include traffic violations like speeding tickets, running red lights, or parking violations. These are relatively minor and while anyone who receives an infraction can dispute it in court, most people simply choose to pay the fine. That is because, unlike other criminal offenses, anyone charged with an infraction does not have the right to a jury trial.


This type of criminal offense is more serious than an infraction but not as severe as the next category of offense. They are divided into different classes like Class 1 or A misdemeanors, Class 2 or B misdemeanors, and so on, with the severity of the misdemeanor decreasing as the number or letter associated with it increases. Misdemeanors can be punished by up to a year in jail and additional penalties can include fines, probation, and community service. Anyone charged with a misdemeanor is entitled to a jury trial, so they can hire a lawyer to represent them if they wish. Some common misdemeanors include prostitution, discharging a firearm within city limits, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct.


These are the most serious kind of criminal offense and as such, they have the most serious penalties, which can go as far as life in prison or even the death sentence. In some cases, a misdemeanor can be elevated to a felony if the perpetrator is a second-time offender. Some examples of felonies include murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, sexual assault, and arson. Non-violent crimes like tax evasion, blackmail, extortion, and fraud are also felonies. As with misdemeanors, felonies are also divided into classes that denote their level of seriousness.


This is the type of offense that can be categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony. What usually happens is that a crime that gets prosecuted as a felony may get downgraded to a misdemeanor by the court at the sentencing phase.

The Classification Of a DUI

A DUI is a statutory crime, which means that it is a crime that is prohibited by a statute. DUIs and other statutory crimes like white-collar crimes, traffic offenses, and drug crimes are prohibited because society wants to deter people from engaging in that kind of behavior. A DUI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether it is a first-time offense or not. In states like Florida, a first or second-time offense is classified as a misdemeanor while subsequent offenses that occur within ten years of the prior offenses are classified as felonies.

Hire a Lawyer If You Have Been Charged With a DUI

The penalties resulting from a DUI, whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, can be catastrophic. Large fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment are all possibilities. That is why you should hire an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you ever receive such a charge. They will fight to get the charges reduced or dismissed so that the penalties are not as severe as they could be. So do not hesitate! Contact a lawyer if you get charged with a DUI.

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