When Is a DWI Charge a Felony?

December 6, 2022


Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious charge that can result in severe penalties upon conviction.  New York drivers face the nation’s toughest DWI laws that carry steep fines, driver’s license suspension or revocation, or even jail time, among other penalties. Drivers convicted of certain alcohol-related offenses may also be subject to felony charges. Below is information you need to know regarding these felony charges.

When Is a DWI Charge a Felony? Car keys and beers

There is a wide variety of alcohol-related offenses that are based on the per se DWI charge.  This basic DWI charge is brought against drivers who operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08%.  When a driver has a BAC of at least 0.08%, they are legally considered intoxicated, or drunk.  A first-time conviction of a per se DWI can lead to penalties including a maximum fine of $1,000 plus a surcharge of $400; up to 1 year in jail; a minimum of a 6-month driver’s license revocation; and a requirement to install and maintain an ignition interlock device for up to 1 year.  A first-time per se DWI charge is not a felony charge; however, multiple convictions will lead to felony charges for future alcohol-related offenses.

The various DWI charges relate to how intoxicated the driver is, the type of vehicle he or she is operating, and whether the driver has any prior convictions for alcohol-related offenses (other than a DWAI).  New York has a specific Felony DWI charge for drivers that commit a DWI within 10 years of a prior conviction or convictions for an alcohol-related offense (other than DWAI).  The “Class” of Felony that a motorist can be charged with depends on the number of prior convictions and the time frame in which they occurred.

Felony Aggravated DWI Charge Overview

Another felony charge in New York is the Felony Aggravated DWI.  Similar to the Felony DWI charge, the Felony Aggravated DWI applies to drivers with prior alcohol-related convictions (other than DWAI).  A driver who commits an Aggravated DWI (driving with a BAC of 0.18% or higher) within 10 years of a prior conviction or convictions for an alcohol-related offense (other than DWAI) will be charged with Felony Aggravated DWI.

Let Our Team Help

Because these are felony charges, the potential penalties upon conviction are considerably harsher than those for a per se DWI.  If you or someone you love has been charged with a DWI, a felony DWI, or any related charge, contact us immediately. Our team of lawyers focuses solely on DWI practice, and we aggressively defend our clients.  Our experienced lawyers understand the complicated DWI laws in New York, and have helped thousands of New York drivers like you.  When you face DWI charges, your finances, your freedom, and your future are at stake.  We will professionally handle your case to help you move on from these charges.  Protecting your rights and defending you are our goals.  With these goals in mind, we will provide expert advice and explore all your legal options.  If you are facing DWI charges, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.  Corporate offices for The DWI GUYS are located at 231 Walton Street, Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: 1-877-704-9991.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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