New York imposes strict penalties on all those convicted of drunk driving charges, but those who have prior convictions on their records face particularly tough penalties. A prior conviction can make the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony charge.
Recently, a Bronx man was charged with felony DWI after police said he crashed his car on an Interstate 95 exit in New Rochelle. No one was hurt in the accident, but police said when they responded to the scene, they found the man was intoxicated. Because he had a prior DWI conviction within the past 10 years he will face felony DWI charges, according to a news report.
The difference between misdemeanors and felonies lies in how long of a sentence will follow a conviction on the charges. A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by up to one year in jail. If the crime is punishable by more than one year, then it is considered a felony.
A person who is convicted of a felony will serve the time in a state prison rather than a county jail. They may face steep fines, loss of driving privileges and other penalties as well. What’s more, the existence of a felony conviction on one’s record will interfere with their personal and professional life for many years to come.
New York penalties
For a first-time conviction on charges of aggravated DWI, New York law imposes a fine of between $1,000-$2,500, revocation of a driver’s license for a year and a jail sentence of up to one year.
If the defendant has been convicted of DWI within the prior 10 years, the charge is raised to felony DWI. This charge carries a sentence of up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 and license revocation for up to 18 months.
It’s essential that people accused of drunk driving offenses get the best defense they can, even when it’s a first-time offense. An experienced defense lawyer can help the accused to understand their rights and options for defense.