In many states a DUI or DWI offense can be charged as a felony under certain circumstances. When charged with a felony, you are usually sentenced to serve time in prison or jail with community service, license suspension and heavy fines.
Each state has their own rules about when a drunk driving offense can be charged as a felony. Below are some examples of when drunk driving offenses become felonies.
In California, penalties for DUI offenses increase with each offense. The definition for what is a felony depends on the circumstances surrounding your offense. You can be charged with a felony under one of three theories.
In Texas your first DWI conviction is a Class B Misdemeanor, your second conviction is a Class A Misdemeanor and your third conviction is considered a 3rd Degree Felony.
You can also be charged with a felony in Texas for a DWI offense if:
In New York, you may be charged with "driving while impaired by alcohol" which is the least serious DUI offense and will not leave you with a criminal record.
If you are charged with "driving while intoxicated" (DWI), your first conviction is considered a misdemeanor and gives you a criminal record. Your second DWI conviction is considered a class E Felony.
You can also be charged with a felony in New York if:
California, Texas and New York are all members of the Interstate Drivers License Compact, which is a group of 45 states which share information about DUI convictions and driver's license actions with other member states. If you get convicted of a DUI offense or action is taken on your driver's license in a member state and your home state is also a member of the Compact, the state in which you were convicted will share the information with your home state. What the home state does with the information varies from state to state.
The states not members of the Interstate Drivers License Compact are: Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin.
An experienced DWI or DUI attorney should be quickly consulted if you are charged with a DUI/DWI offense, especially if you are charged with felony DUI. In many states, there are strict deadlines for hearings to retain driving privileges. An attorney can also ensure that your rights are preserved from the time you are arrested. The applicable laws regarding DWU/DUI offenses vary by state and an experienced attorney will know how best to ensure that your case has the most favorable outcome for you.
Last Modified: 05-15-2018 12:38 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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