Do Crimes change from Misdemeanors to Felonies depending on #offenses?

On another board where I lurk, I read that a DUI in Florida is not a Felony on the first offense but is a felony on 2nd offence. Yes, I realize that prosecutors have some discretion to plead cases down to lesser offenses but it seems strange to me that the “same basic crime” changes from a misdemeanor to a felony.

In Virginia a 3rd DUI is a felony, iirc. Basically, the idea is that if you haven’t learned your lesson after two convictions for the same offense, it’s not working and the law needs to try harder.

I’m not entirely sure, but I think repeated offenses can mean the difference between being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Certain misdemeanor offenses can be “enhanced” to a felony charge, ie: possessing/using a firearm in the course of committing what would normally be a misdemeanor.
The DUI laws are the same in Texas… 1st time = misdemeanor… 2nd = felony.

Not that I would know about these things, from personal experience.:wink:

Yes, DUI is an enhanced penalty offense in my state as well. First offense carries 2 days in jail (+ other penalties including a fine, and license suspension), usually suspended unless you really piss off the judge. Second offense carries mandatory jail time, and the third offense is a felony than can carry up to 5 years in prison, I think–been a long time since I defended a DUI, so I’m not up on the latest changes.

Close - second DWI is a class A misdemeanor and third DWI a 3rd degree felony in Texas. Under certain circumstances a first DWI is a felony, for example if the intoxicated driver has a child passenger. There are similar provisions for theft; if you have at least two prior theft charges, a third class A misdemeanor theft charge can be enhanced up to a state jail felony, so if a shoplifter continues to shoplift they’ll likely get hit with a felony sooner or later.

In Texas, a DWI 1st is a class B misdemeanor, 2nd is a class A misdemeanor, and 3rd or more is a 3rd degree felony. Of course, if you have enough DWIs, you could be sentenced as a “habitual felony offender”, which carries a sentence of 25-99 years or “life” in the pen. Can’t use the same DWIs to enhance the current one to a 3rd and to establish habitual status, though, so you’d need 5 DWIs total to get there.

Also in Texas, Assault/Family Violence is a class A misdemeanor. If the person’s conviction contains an “affirmative finding of family violence”, the next one is a 3rd degree felony.

And again in Texas, Evading Arrest is a class A misdemeanor, but after the first conviction, any additional offenses are charged as state jail felonies (just below 3rd degree felony, possible sentence is 6-24 months in a state jail).

This is quite common and DUI’s are a good example. In my state the first two are misdemeanors and then the third is a felony. Judges tend to keep giving people more DUI second offenses to keep them from the jail felony.

There are minor technical points that often separate misdemeanors and felonies. Prosecutors use these to deal pleas. It’s very effective in getting defendants to take a plea and avoid trial.

It is not a felony in Florida for the 2nd Offense. It is a felony on the third offense only if it’s within 10 years of your first. The fourth and all subsequent DUIs are felonies.

In Ohio, both domestic violence and DUI are misdemeanor 1s (punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine) on a first offense, and felony 5s (punishable by up to a year and a half in jail and a $5000 fine) on a second offense, IIRC. I don’t know of any other offenses of which that’s true.

In Canada, a large number of the offences in the Criminal Code are “hybrid” - that is, the Crown can proceed either summarily or by way of indictment. Penalties for summary offences are lower than for indictment.

One of the factors that the Crown uses in deciding whether to proceed summarily or by indictment is whether the accused has already been convicted in the past of the same offence. Impaired driving / driving over .08 are typical examples of this type of charging discretion.