Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Intoxicated Felony vs Misdemeanor

Regulatory Compliance

In New York State DUI/DWI can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony.

What is the differences between a Misdemeanor and a Felony and how does the impact affect you? Do I still need a Driving Under the Influence Defense Attorney if this is my first offense?


A misdemeanor is generally defined as serving in jail for a year or less depending on the crime. Jail time is usually served in a city or County jail. Misdemeanors can come with fines and community service also. Misdemeanor such as DUI/DWI stay on your record for at least 10 years but sometimes after that period can be expunged. A good number of DUI cases in New York state are classified as Misdemeanors, but still can have long lasting impacts to your life.

Misdemeanor convictions such as Driving Under the Influence stay on your driving record for ten years or more. What that means to you is that your car insurance is higher, it may impact your ability to obtain employment for the next TEN years and you will have to pay a fine up to $1,000.00.


A felony is generally classified as being convicted of a crime and serving more than one year in State Jail. DUI/DWI can be considered a felony, normally in these cases:

You have had a DUI or DWI conviction in the last ten years or you had a child in the car with you 15 years or younger when you were arrested for Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated.

If this is your second or more DUI arrest, they are going to charge you with Felony DUI. In addition, you could be facing fines up to $10,000.

The blood alcohol limit in New York state is .08% and if you are pulled over and are Under 21 years of age and your blood alcohol level is above .02%, there is a Zero Tolerance Law in those cases and you can forget getting your drivers a license back until your 21 years of age or older, and facing your parents after being arrested for Under Age Drinking and Driving may be worse than having your license revoked. Not to mention your parent’s car insurance rates are now going to be sky high.

The Misdemeanor vs Felony DUI/ DWI differences described above are what happens “normally” but each case is different. In any case, consulting with a Driving Under the Influence Defense Attorney is the best course of action. You need to know your rights, discuss your defense and have someone fight for you. Make sure and hire an expert lawyer that has lots of experience in defending DUI cases. This is your life we are discussing, you owe it to yourself and your family to hire the best and most experience DUI attorney.You need and deserve an expert to help you weed through the different laws and help you decide what course of action is right for you.




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