When is a DWI a Felony in New York State?

As acriminal defense attorney in Westchester County, White Plains New York when meeting with a new client charged withDWI it is very important to have an understanding of the client's prior criminal history, if any, to determine if a current DWI charge will be treated as afelony.

In Westchester County, DWI charges are sometimes written by police officers as a misdemeanor when they should be treated as a felony because the police may not have access to the motorist's driving history at the time of the arrest.

As a criminal defense attorney it is not my job to correct or help the prosecution but I must be prepared for a potential correction to the charge.

In order to be prosecuted for a felony DWI charge the motorist must have a prior drinking and driving conviction within the past ten years. It is important to note that the ten year time period starts from the date of the DWI misdemeanor conviction not the date of the DWI misdemeanor arrest.

A DWI Felony with one prior conviction in the past 10 years is treated as a class "E" felony. The potential sentence for a conviction of the felony charge includes a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.00 dollars and/or a State prison sentence of 1 1/3 years to four years.

If there are two prior DWI convictions in the past 10 years the current DWI charge will be treated as a class "D" felony punishable by a fine of $2,000.00 to $10,000.00 and/or a State prison sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years.

The best felony DWI defense with a prior misdemeanor conviction in the past 10 years is to consider the potential indictment but aggressively investigate mitigating factors to prevent an indictment or the District Attorney demanding a plea to the felony charge. This includes all defenses common to any type of DWI charge, the vehicle stop, BAC reading, operation of the vehicle, statements, field sobriety tests and other defense factors.

Each District Attorney's office has different policies concerning felony DWI charges. The policy in Westchester County is different from the polices in Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland or Orange counties. Therefore, it is best to attack the arrest itself and the proof the prosecution has regarding the DWI charge.

Of course, there are several other factors pertaining to a felony DWI charge and the best DWI criminal defense. Other factors include, commercial driver's licenses, accidents, BAC level, passage of time between DWI convictions and other factors.

If you or someone you loved is charged with a DWI misdemeanor or DWI felony charge it is very important to hire a top DWI criminal defense lawyer. My firm, Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP has over 50 years of combined experience defending DWI charges and protecting our client's rights. We have proven case results.

Call us for a free DWI consultation today (914) 946-4808.