Bronx Felony DWI Lawyer
Felony-level DWI offenses can occur for a variety of reasons including subsequent charges and a prior conviction for vehicular assault or manslaughter. Essentially, a felony drunk driving charge means that the State considers a person to be a serious danger to others on the road.
A Bronx felony DWI lawyer could help you fight these allegations. Whether you are facing these charges as a result of having a prior conviction for drunk driving or you have a conviction for a past motor vehicle crime, an aggressive DWI attorney could help to protect your freedom.
When Does a DWI Become a Felony?
A first offense for a DWI is generally a misdemeanor-level offense. The exception to this is when someone has a prior conviction for a vehicular assault or manslaughter. In these cases, the prosecutors have reason to believe that the person has a history of extreme recklessness on the road and will treat a similar incident as a felony-level offense.
The most common reason for a DWI charge to become a felony is if the person has a prior conviction for drunk driving. According to New York Vehicle and Traffic Code §1193(c), courts will treat a DWI arrest as a subsequent offense if the person has a conviction for driving under the influence on their record in the prior ten years. A Bronx lawyer could help individuals understand why prosecutors brought felony level DWI charges.
The Penalties for a Potential Felony DWI Conviction in The Bronx
A conviction for a felony-level DWI results in a permanent criminal record that can make it difficult to obtain employment or housing. Additionally, the penalties that can apply for a felony-level conviction are harsh.
The least severe DWI felony is a second-offense conviction which is a Class E felony. The penalties for this offense include up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Additionally, a person must pay a surcharge of up to $400, three annual $250 driver responsibility assessments, and will lose their license for at least one year.
The most severe felony DWI charges can result when someone has at least two prior convictions for drunk driving or vehicular assault. The maximum jail sentence increases to as many as seven years with a ten-day mandatory minimum. The fines also increase to as much as $10,000, and the loss of license may be permanent. A Bronx lawyer could explain the potential consequences for a felony DWI conviction and to develop strategies designed to avoid those penalties.
What are the Collateral Consequences of a Felony DWI Conviction?
Jail time, driver’s license suspensions, and fines are not the only possible penalties that come with a felony drunk driving conviction. There are also collateral consequences to consider. A collateral consequence is one that occurs as the result of a felony conviction but does not stem directly from the DWI statute. Some common examples include a felon’s loss of the right to own a firearm or vote. Many people also face difficulties maintaining employment or acquiring adequate housing with a felony on their record.
Common Defense Strategies in a Felony DWI Case
The defenses in a felony DWI case typically boil down to two broad strategies: challenging the accuracy of the chemical test and the legality of the traffic stop. Challenging the test is a useful strategy given that most DWI prosecutions are built on the test results. If a defense attorney in the Bronx can exclude the results of a test from trial, an acquittal of felony DWI charges could become more likely. The court is empowered to exclude these results if the samples were tested or collected in a way that violates state protocols.
Challenging the traffic stop is also a strong option in many cases. This is because any evidence collected during the course of an illegal traffic stop could be withheld at trial. This evidence could include anything from breath test results to an admission of guilt.
A Bronx Felony DWI Attorney Could Help
Facing accusations of a felony-level DWI charge can be an intimidating and frightening experience. These charges are usually the result of you having a prior conviction for DWI on your record but may also result from a first offense if you have other serious traffic criminal convictions.
In general, this type of charge can seriously affect your finances and may eliminate your ability to drive. In addition, a conviction carries the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence. A Bronx felony DWI lawyer could help you fight these allegations. Call today for a consultation to get started.