Being convicted with felony DWI is very serious because it can have a heavy impact on the future. Not only do the penalties involve large fines, jail, alcohol treatment programs, alcohol education, house arrest, probation, or community service, there are also a lot of personal penalties. Any time a felony is present on an individual’s record, they have difficulty finding a nice place to live, obtaining insurance, being hired by a company that pays better than average, and they always have this stigma surrounding them regarding being a criminal.
To fight the charges, you need a St. Paul DWI lawyer to help you. There are a number of strategies that can be used to have the charges reduced or eliminated completely. When the charges are reduced, the penalties are reduced. However, the defense must be a competent and aggressive one so that the court can see the facts.
Felony DWI Charge
A person is charged with DWI when they are found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the case of alcohol, the blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, cannot be over .08.
First time offenders are not typically charged with a felony unless there are certain aggravating factors present. For instance, a person under the influence of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle with drugs inside, as well as a minor child as a passenger, is an example of how the charges can be increased even on a first offense.
Felony DWI charges, however, are most likely to be imposed on those that have offended multiple times. Nonetheless, a gross misdemeanor can be raised to a felony charge if another crime was being committed at the time of the DWI arrest. Many times, the discretion of the prosecutor is used to determine what the charge will really be.
Avoiding The Felony Charge
The one way to avoid the felony charge is to not operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. When an individual is arrested once, the chances the offense will be committed again is high. This is why the penalties become more and more severe with each arrest. The first arrest may be a misdemeanor, but the second and third arrests are gross misdemeanors if no aggravating factors are present to increase them to felonies. The fourth arrest is a felony regardless, but the charges can still be fought by a competent St. Paul criminal lawyer.
The reason why the fourth offense is so harsh is because every time a person drives under the influence, every individual in their vicinity is at risk of becoming a victim in an accident. Unfortunately, there are many accidents that occur as the result of individuals driving while intoxicated and the laws in Minnesota are designed to reduce the number of accidents that occur.
Contact A St. Paul DWI Attorney
If you have been arrested for DWI and the charge is a felony charge, do not wait to notify your attorney. It is important to contact your attorney as soon as possible so that your case can be pieced together and the facts brought to light. If there are any factors within your case that could result in charge dismissal or reduction, they will be brought to the attention of the court. To get started, call the Ramsay Law Firm at 651-604-0000 or fill out the form on this page to schedule your free case evaluation.