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Posted by: Law Offices of George Vomvolakis on 09/28/2017

New York Woman Faces Felony DWI Charge

New York Woman Faces Felony DWI Charge

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York is typically a misdemeanor charge the first time around. But when you rack up multiple charges, the punishment gets stricter each time. A Westchester County woman is finding this out the hard way. She is facing a felony charge after she recently got her second DWI charge in two years.

The woman was pulled over by a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy on the morning of August 8. She was originally pulled over while driving in Carmel for a traffic infraction. However, upon further notice, the deputy noticed that the woman was intoxicated.

She was arrested on the spot and taken to the Putnam County Correctional Facility. Her bail of $500 was posted later that day. She was charged with a felony DWI, since she was previously convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2015. She must return to the Town of Carmel Justice Court at a later date to face her sentencing.

Aggravating Factors

There are several aggravating factors that can elevate a misdemeanor DWI to a felony charge. One of those is a prior offense, which is why the woman faced elevated charges. If you have more than one DWI charge in a 10-year period, you will face felony charges. Subsequent DWI offenses are typically classified as Class E felonies.

While these are the least serious felonies in New York, they still come with strict penalties. Any type of felony carries a minimum one-year prison sentence, with Class E felonies punishable up to four years in prison. The person’s driver’s license will also be revoked for at least one year and he or she can be fined as much as $5,000.

Extreme intoxication is another aggravating factor. The blood alcohol limit (BAC) in New York is 0.08. However, if your BAC is above 0.18, you will face felony charges—even if this was your first offense. Testing equipment is not foolproof, however, and mistakes do occur. If you feel the BAC level is way too high given the amount of alcohol you drank, you may want to challenge it and submit to a different test (blood, breath or urine) instead.

Another aggravating factor is causing an accident. If you were intoxicated and caused an injury accident, you will likely face felony charges, whether or not this was your first DWI offense. The law does not tolerate drivers who endanger the lives of others through irresponsible behavior.

Having a child under the age of 15 in the car with you while you are driving intoxicated is another factor that will bring your DWI charge to a felony.