New York Felony DWI: Second Conviction in Ten Years
The majority of drunk driving crimes handled by New York DUI lawyers are misdemeanors offenses. With the exception of a Leandra’s Law violation for Aggravated DWI involving a child no older than fifteen, if it is your first arrest for having a BAC greater than .08 or.18, refusing to submit to an Intoxilyzer or similar chemical test, or being intoxicated due to controlled substance or narcotic drug, you would not face felony prosecution. However, if you are arrested and ultimately convicted of VTL 1192.2, VTL 1192.3 or VTL 1192.4, for example, and you already had a prior conviction for these or other driving while intoxicated offenses during the previous ten years, you will not merely face an enhanced punishment, but a “bump up” felony charge as well. Simply, whether you were just a "hair" over the legal limit of .08 and there was no accident or you were slumped over in your vehicle and admitted to downing five beers, prosecutors can hang a felony around your neck.Elements of the Felony Offense
In lieu of breaking down the “regular” DWI crimes that are codified in Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192, the elements shared across each of these offenses involve the operation of a motor vehicle on a public highway while in an intoxicated state as prescribed by law. As briefly mentioned above, assuming the District Attorney can establish these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, it is of no real consequence whether your blood alcohol content is .08 or greater, you exhibit indicia of inebriation such as unsteadiness on your feet and alcohol on your breath, or you show the signs of intoxication from drugs. Ultimately, a judge or jury could then find you guilty of VTL 1192(2), VTL 1192(3) or VTL 1192(4) respectively. These convictions, for a first-time arrest, would at worst result in misdemeanors unless your drunk driving lawyer could secure a dismissal, acquittal or reduction of the charge to Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), in violation of VTL 1192(1).
Assuming you were previously convicted of DUI, if you are ultimately convicted of any one of these offenses a second time in a ten year period, then what would otherwise be misdemeanor conduct now becomes a felony solely based on this second finding of guilt.Penalties and Punishment
A second violation of the law is a class “E” felony. Instead of “only” facing up to one year in jail you will now face as much as four years in prison. Additionally, other punishment includes:
- A fine no less than $1,000 and up to $5,000
- Five years probation
- A one year or more license revocation
- Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel
- $520 surcharge and a three-year DMV assessment totaling $750
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
In the event that this conviction is your third, the penalties are even more severe. In fact, instead of up to four years incarceration on a class “E” felony, you will now be staring down a class "D" felony punishably by up to seven years in prison. While likely less important than your ability to remain out of custody, fines from $2,000 to $10,000 and an eighteen month or more license revocation are all possible outcomes.Your Case, Your Defense, Your Future
Nobody wants to find him or herself indicted for any alleged criminal conduct. The ramifications can level your life. How can you get to work, support your family, live your life if your license is revoked? Who will pay your rent or mortgage if you are incarcerated? Irrespective of what theory of drunk driving you face, the strategies you identify as your best defense can range from challenging the probable cause of your arrest, confronting the police with inconsistent paperwork, identifying issues with the PBT or Breathalyzer, questioning whether you were operating the vehicle as a matter of law, or one of many other viable approaches.
Whatever your path to a dismissal, acquittal or the reduction of charges, stagnancy or the wrong defensive plan will complicate and compound your already dire predicament. Take the initiative. Protect yourself. Move your defense forward. The former Manhattan DWI prosecutors and DUI defense team at Saland Law are ready to put their experience, knowledge and advocacy to work for you.
Call the New York felony DWI defense lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.