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Not all DWI charges are all misdemeanors

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Some New York drivers have the common misconception that DWI charges are all misdemeanors. This is not the case, as some DWI charges can be felonies.

That said, even misdemeanor DWI charges are serious, with potentially significant consequences.

Not all DWI charges are misdemeanors

A first-time DWI offense is typically a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses or cases involving aggravating factors can result in felony charges. Factors such as prior DWI convictions, extreme BAC levels or incidents involving injury or death can elevate the charge to a felony.

Consequences of misdemeanor DWI charges

Even misdemeanor DWI charges carry severe consequences. Upon conviction, individuals may face fines, license suspension or revocation, mandatory attendance at alcohol education programs and even jail time. Also, a DWI conviction can have long-term effects, including increased insurance rates, difficulty finding work and damage to one’s reputation.

For example, insurance companies consider individuals convicted of DWI to be high-risk drivers. The resulting increased premiums can be a huge financial burden, especially with the other fines and fees associated with DWI.

A DWI conviction can make getting work hard, especially in fields that require driving or have strict policies about criminal convictions. Employers may view a DWI conviction as a sign of irresponsibility or poor judgment.

Higher consequences for felony DWI charges

Felony DWI charges carry even more severe penalties. Drivers convicted of felony DWI may face longer periods of incarceration, hefty fines and permanent loss of driving privileges. A felony conviction can have even more far-reaching implications for future opportunities.

It is important for drivers to understand the gravity of DWI charges, whether they are misdemeanors or felonies.