If you are arrested for drunk driving in New York, you can either be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. It all depends on the circumstances of your offense.
In most instances, a first-time DWI charge is considered a misdemeanor. However, if you violated Leandra’s law by having a minor in the car at the time of arrest, you will face felony charges even as a first offender. Similarly, you will be charged with felony DWI if you have a previous conviction within the past 10 years.
The potential penalties and consequences of a felony DWI
The stakes are much higher if you are charged with a felony DWI. For instance, you can only be jailed for up to one year if convicted of drunk driving at the misdemeanor level. However, you risk several years behind bars with a felony conviction.
You could be placed on probation for years, fined thousands of dollars and have your license suspended for an extended period if you are found guilty. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device. You will also have to deal with the collateral damages of a DWI conviction, such as high insurance costs and a criminal record which can negatively impact your quality of life.
Your defense is crucial
While you can successfully go against the DWI charges you face, it requires a deep understanding of the law and the potential weak points in your case. An informed evaluation of your case will set you on the right path and increase your chances of a desirable verdict.
Therefore, it is crucial to have proper legal guidance when crafting your defense, whether you are a first offender or have already been convicted of DWI.