Common law generally divides crimes into two categories; a misdemeanor and a felony. A misdemeanor is a lesser crime and under law is punishable by a fine with possible county jail time for a maximum of one year. They are usually tried in lower courts, such as municipal or police courts. First time DWI offenses of a simple nature, not involving injury or death for example, are generally tried as misdemeanors. A felony however is defined as a serious crime and will carry sentences in excess of one year as well as confinement in State or Federal prisons.
When a DWI offense is being considered as a felony then the consequences can be quite severe and an expert defense is required to protect you to the greatest possible extent. A lawyer with a strong track record in defending against felony DWI charges should be engaged without delay.
What makes a DWI Offense to be regarded as a felony?
While a great number of DWI cases are tried as misdemeanors some of them become felonies. The main factors that make a DWI into a felony are:
- Driving while intoxicated with a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle
- Multiple DWI offenses
- Intoxication Assault - defined as a DWI involving serious injury
- A death or lethal result from a DWI incident
On a court level the key differences are the level of fines that can be levied and more importantly the fact that prison time can be in excess of one year. Additionally, time served will be done in state prisons rather than municipal jails.
On a personal level being convicted as a felon can carry lifelong consequences. Loss of social privileges, public humiliation, deprivation of certain types of professional licenses and many other factors can haunt one for years after any fines have been paid or sentences served.
Fighting felony DWI charges requires expert legal work. Our team at Alband, Lane & Balderamahas worked for years to defend clients against all types of DWI charges and can help you fight your battle.
"So good to have an honest and knowledgeable team behind us."Angel
"They have provided a sense of ease to my thoughts and heart. I can not imagine using a different group of people to help me in this situation."John
"Thanks to Mr. Alband, a two-count indicted felony case was dismissed completely."Ann
"Mr. Alband, I just wanted to say thank you and good luck with your future career."C.F.
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