When Does a DWI Become a Felony in New York? - Law Office Of Gina M Wicik

When Does a DWI Become a Felony in New York?

New York, drivers convicted of alcohol-related offenses encounter the strictest punishments of all states. DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) is a severe charge resulting in extreme penalties and steep fines upon conviction.

The laws are tough, and navigating your way through a DWI charge, especially as a felony, can be nerve-wrecking. For this reason, you require aggressive legal representation by a competent criminal defense attorney who can obtain a practical resolution. But before that, here are some details of DWI in New York, the consequences of multiple DWIs, how it differs from DUI, and what makes DWI a felony in New York.

DWI Is a Serious Crime

In New York, DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) are the two major categories of offenses that apply to a case.  In general, you are prohibited from driving a vehicle with impaired ability due to the consumption of:
• Alcohol (Alcohol-DWI)
• Drugs (Drug-DWAI or DUI)
• A combination (Combination-DWAI)
• In an intoxicated condition (DWI)

DWI vs. DWAI vs. DUI

While the terms DWI, DWAI, and DUI are often used interchangeably, there arevery distinct differences between these. Understanding how these terms differ will better equip you to defend yourself if in a situation where you are being charged under one of these laws.
DWI refers to intoxication only by alcohol. The legal limit in New York for driving while intoxicated is a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08%. DWI necessitates proof of impairment and is more serious than DWAI
However, DWAI is when you are under the legal limit of BAC but impaired nonetheless by alcohol and/or drugs.
On the other hand, DUI is a broad term that indicates intoxication by alcohol, drugs, and any other mind-altering substances, which includes prescription drugs.
Both DWI and DWAI can be classified as a type of DUI. Therefore, New York treats DUI as an umbrella term to house different types of impaired driving instances.
Keep in mind, if you turn your engine on, that is sufficient enough to hold you accountable.  Yes, you can be charged even without moving your vehicle.
DUI/DWI charges can be severe, the penalties are harsh, and your license can be suspended or revoked. The consequences of a convictions can and will drastically impact your day-to-day life.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

Crimes are often classified under two broad categories: Misdemeanors and Felonies. The fines and punishments for each can vary depending on the severity of the crime committed.
Typically acts like shoplifting, certain types of drug possession, and the first DWI offense will be charged as a misdemeanor.

However, crimes like grand theft, armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping,,and a second conviction for DWI or DWAI resulting in serious injuries or death can be a felony.
Felonies can result in substantial monetary fines and prison sentences. Where misdemeanor can result on fines and up to one year in jail.

When Does a DWI  Become a Felony

In New York, DWI is typically a misdemeanor. First-time offenses can lead to license revocation for a minimum of six months, fines and surcharges, and/or up to 1 year of jail term. It can also mandate installing an ignition interlock device.However, a DWI can quickly escalate to become a felony in certain circumstances.
Following are some ways a DWI offense becomes a felony in New York:
• BAC of at least 0.18% (or Aggravated DWI);
• Multiple DWIs within a 10 year period;
• DWI with a suspended license;
• Causing a serious injury or death;
• Having an under aged child in the vehicle.

Consequences of a Second DWI

If you are arrested within ten years of your first DWI conviction, you will likely be charged with felony DWI, and may be sentenced to mandatory incarceration. In addition to incarceration you will be sentenced to hefty fines anda license suspension of at least one year.
• Incarceration for up to 4 years
• Fines of $1,000 to $5,000
If you deny taking the chemical test, (refusal), your license will be suspended for up to a year. Multiple convictions within 25 years can incur more extended (or permanent) license suspension periods.

The Law Office of Gina M. Wicik Can Help If You Are Charged With A DWI

If you have been charged with any form of a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense in New York, you will certainly need the assistance of an experienced NY criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Our top-rated lawyer, Gina M. Wicik, can perform a formal review to put the case specifics together and help mitigate your penalties.
A DWI/DUI is a serious offense in New York. It can impact your ability to drive, work, and your reputation. The implications can be extreme and long-term.
Consulting with The Law Office of Gina M. Wicik, can help protect your future. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.


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