FELONY DWI in Ithaca, New York (and surrounding counties)

A felony level DWI charge in New York is a serious offense.  Felony level charges are the highest form of crime in New York.  The biggest difference between a felony charge and a misdemeanor charge is where you could be incarcerated:  state prison (as opposed to county jail).  

If you have seen the movies or read any history, the state prison system in upstate New York is not a place where somebody wants to be incarcerated.  There are very serious and violent criminals that have been locked up in upstate New York.

In New York, if you are charged with a second DWI or DWAI drug within 10 years of a first (misdemeanor) conviction, then you will be charged with a Class E felony DWI.  Out-of-state DUI convictions may count as a prior DWI in New York. VTL 1193(1)(c)(3)

*A prior conviction of VTL 1192.1, Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, cannot count as the predicate conviction on a felony DWI charge in New York (unless you were driving a commercial vehicle—that is a misdemeanor offense).

What are the penalties for Felony DWI in New York? 

  1. 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison
  2. up to 5 years Probation (closely monitored community supervision)
  3. $1,000 up to $5,000 in fines
  4. $325 court surcharge
  5. permanent criminal record - convicted Class E felon
  6. community service
  7. permanent criminal record
  8. loss of right to own or possess firearms
  9. loss of right to serve on a jury
  10. potential permanent loss of license (if many prior DW’s or bad driving history)
  11. possible many years of the Ignition Interlock device on your vehicle
  12. possible mandatory participation in drug or alcohol treatment
  13. mandatory attendance at Victim Impact Panel
  14. possible mandatory attendance at DMV Drinking Driver Program

Will my Out-of-State DWI count as a prior DWI toward a felony?

MAYBE.  As of Nov. 2006, Out-of-State DWI or DUI can form the predicate conviction for a New York felony DWI if the out-of-state conviction would be considered a misdemeanor-level New York DWI had it occurred here (VTL 1192.2, 1192.3, or 1192.4).  [Convictions that occurred BEFORE Nov. 2006 are considered the same as VTL 1192.1-Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol]  VTL 1192(8). 

How many years can they use a prior New York State DWI as a predicate to increase my DWI to a Felony Charge?

When a person has a current DWI charge and has had a prior DWI misdemeanor or felony conviction within the preceding ten years, then the pending charge will be upgraded to a Class E Felony DWI.

Can a DWAI be used as the predicate offense for a Felony DWI?

No, prior convictions of DWAI, a violation of VTL §1192 (1), cannot be used as predicate offenses to elevate a current DWI charge. They can be used by the prosecution to enhance punishment. Harsh punishment is likely for repeat offenders under such circumstances. It is not unusual for the District Attorney to ask for three years or more years of probation in addition to other conditions. 

Will my Felony DWI stay in a town or city court?

If you are indicted on a Felony DWI in Ithaca, NY or any other Tompkins County Town Courts your case (if indicted as a Felony), will be moved to the Tompkins County Court at 320 North Tioga Street, Ithaca, NY.

Are there other potential alternatives to Prison for a Felony DWI?

The options can range from Split Sentences, which consist of a short period of prison (which could range from a minimum term of 6 months), with a long term of probation (typically 5 years), with alcohol/drug counseling to Tompkins County Felony Drug Treatment Court. Typically, the Tompkins County District Attorney takes Felony charges very seriously. You need to be accepted into the Drug Treatment Court Program after screening by the Court, the Probation Department, and the District Attorney’s office.  During the screening process you may receive a release under supervision of a drug court probation officer or be placed on interim probation supervision that may include a period of electronic monitoring.  If you are accepted into the program by the Felony Drug Treatment Court, you will enter a guilty plea and be sentenced.  The Felony Drug Treatment Court has strict program requirements. All participants are sentenced to a 5 year term of probation and must agree to comply with all of the conditions of the program to be successful. 

If you are charged with a DWI Felony in Ithaca, Elmira, Bath, Corning, Auburn, Vestal, or any other surrounding county, call us:  607-229-5184.


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