In New York, you can be charged with a DWI as a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor, and it can result in a longer prison sentence and higher fines. In addition, you may lose some civil rights if convicted of a felony offense.
So, what determines whether you will face a felony DWI or a misdemeanor charge? Here is what you need to know:
It depends on the circumstances of your offense
Most people assume that all first-time DWI are misdemeanors. While it applies to most cases, it’s not always so. The specifics of your offense will determine the nature of your charges and the potential penalties.
For instance, a first-time DWI where your blood alcohol content is slightly above the legal limit will generally result in a misdemeanor charge. However, if you have a child passenger in the car or cause injury or death to another person, you may be looking at felony charges.
Similarly, if you are a repeat offender, you are likely to face a felony charge. A third DWI or a second aggravated DUI within ten years is a felony in New York. It is worth noting that there are different degrees of felony DWI offenses with varying punishments.
Are you facing drunk driving charges?
If you are charged with any DWI offense in New York, be it a misdemeanor or felony, it helps to seek informed guidance. You may not fully understand the intricacies of your case and the potential defenses.
Proper legal representation can protect your rights, improve your chances of a favorable outcome and minimize the potential long-term consequences such as hefty fines, license suspension, increased insurance premiums and damage to your reputation.