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Posted by Andy Sperbeck on Jun 16, 2017

Misdemeanor and Felony DWI

Driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law. This offense can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is a lighter type of offense, which can result into fines and other penalties. A felony is a more serious type, and it can lead to significantly higher fines, jail times, and other consequences.

But how can it be determined if a DWI offense is a misdemeanor or a felony? The guidelines may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but most of the time, the offense is elevated into a felony if an injury or death is involved or if the drunk driver has a child passenger. There are other factors to consider, such as:

  • The level of the blood alcohol content
  • The number of times the offense has been committed
  • The condition of the driver’s license

Blood Alcohol Content

The legal blood alcohol content limit is 0.08%. If a driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, he can be charged with a driving under the influence case. If his determined blood alcohol content is not too far off the limit, the charge may be a misdemeanor, but if it is way above the limit, like 0.16% for example, the charge can be elevated into a felony.

Number of Offenses

If the determined drunk driver has the same record, meaning that he has committed the offense of drunk driving before, the DWI charge can be elevated into a felony. There is a certain number of consecutive offenses in a specified set of years for this to happen. For example, if the driver has been recorded to commit the same offense three times in five years, the current charge can be considered a felony.

License Condition

A driver’s license gives you the privilege of driving. Without the proper licenses, you have no business on the road, especially if you are on the road while you are drunk. Driving while intoxicated and with a suspended or inexistent license is one of the worst combinations you can do on the road, and the drunk driving charge against you can be a felony.

DWI charges can be defended. This can be considered good news, because at least you can defend yourself from the possible consequences of DWI, especially if the charge is a felony.

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