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Does New York Classify DUI as a Felony?

When found driving while intoxicated (DWI), the penalties you could face are harsh. Understanding the charges you face is crucial, as New York has a multi-tier system for classifying DUI offenses. If you’re facing any DWI charges, ensuring you contact a lawyer as soon as possible is essential. Waiting too long can make your circumstances worse. Keep reading to learn how a Spring Valley DWI defense attorney can help.

What Constitutes a DUI in New York?

Though used interchangeably, the law in New York specifically refers to drunk driving charges as DWIs. However, many people outside of courtrooms use both DUI and DWI to refer to the same thing.

Generally, you face a DWI charge if you are found driving while your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or greater than 0.08%. However, you can also face a DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, if you have alcohol in your system but are below the legal limit. In general, any amount of alcohol consumption can affect your ability to drive.

You could also face an aggravated DWI if your BAC is at 0.18% or higher and a DWAID, or driving while ability, impaired by drugs.

What Are the Charges You Can Face?

Generally, most DWI offenses are classified as traffic infractions or misdemeanors in New York. However, if you are convicted of any of these charges for a second time, you face a class E felony. This is due to the fact that you’re considered a repeat offender.

If you are charged with a class E felony in New York, the penalties include the revocation of your license for at least one year and evaluation before it is reinstated, probation, fines, prison time, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. With each subsequent charge, the penalties become more severe and impose more expensive fines, longer jail sentences, and more extended license revocation periods.

Are There Any DUI Defenses?

Though being charged with a DWI may seem like a defenseless charge, the right attorney can help fight for your rights. For example, they may be able to determine that the breathalyzer test or field sobriety evaluation was not administered correctly. They could also find that a blood or urine sample was improperly stored, leading the specimen to become contaminated.

Another common point for DUI defenses is that blood tests are protected under the fourth amendment, which means an unlawfully conducted blood test can violate your right against bodily intrusions unless there are specific exigent circumstances at play.

Nonetheless, ensuring you have a competent lawyer on your side to represent you in a court of law is crucial to achieving the best possible circumstances for the charges you face. Contact Kevin T. Conway today to discuss your case and learn how we can help.

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