Felony DUI under New York Drunk Driving Laws
The major difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is that the maximum jail sentence possible for a misdemeanor is generally up to one year, while a felony can lead to a prison sentence of a year or more. Potential fines for a felony conviction are also much steeper than for misdemeanor offenses, and having a felony conviction on your record is much worse than a misdemeanor when applying for a job, a loan, housing, education or other important aspects of life.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a misdemeanor in most instances, although there are times when the prosecutor can change the offense as a felony, putting your liberty greatly at risk. Read on to learn about the ways DWI can be charged as a felony in New York, and call 888-DUI-LAWYER after any DWI arrest for effective, aggressive defense from a team of experienced and dedicated New York DUI attorneys.
Ways in Which DUI Can Be Charged as a Felony
Below are the three main ways drunk driving can be charged as a felony in New York:
Felony DWI – If you already have a DWI on your record within the past ten years and you are arrested for a second or subsequent DWI, that second or subsequent DWI can be charged as a felony.
Aggravated DWI – If you are pulled over for driving under the influence with a child who is 15 years old or younger in the vehicle, you can be charged with the felony offense of Aggravated DWI. This should not be confused with the misdemeanor Aggravated DWI which can be charged when you are pulled over with a BAC of .18% or more, and which cares stiffer penalties than DWI.
Vehicular Assault/Vehicular Manslaughter – If you cause injury or death while driving under the influence, you can be charged with the felony offenses of Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Manslaughter. Depending upon the circumstances, Vehicular Assault can be charged in the first or second degree or as Aggravated Vehicular Assault, ranging from a Class E felony to a Class C felony, with penalties ranging from one to 15 years in prison. Similarly, penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter range from two to 25 years, depending upon how the offense is charged.
Felony DWI is the Most Common
The most common way people get charged with felony DUI is by being arrested for DWI with a previous DWI on their record in the past ten years. This makes it very important to fight any DWI arrest, even if it is a first offense and “only” a misdemeanor at the time. Having that misdemeanor DWI on your record puts you at serious risk for the next ten years of being charged with a felony in the event of another stop. This is definitely something to consider before agreeing to plead guilty to a misdemeanor DWI to “get it behind you.”
Call 888-DUI-LAWYER in Long Island for Strong Defense of Felony DUI Charges
To get the best results after an arrest for DWI or DWAI in New York, call 888-DUI-LAWYER for practical advice and strong, smart representation from a team of knowledgeable and dedicated Long Island DUI attorneys.