Most DWIs are misdemeanors, but certain types of DWIs are felonies. There are two common ways that people get felony DWI charges. Most of the time a misdemeanor charge will result in community service (or some jail time), a fine, as well as a loss of license and substance abuse treatment. However, a conviction for felony DWI will land you in jail. Lets look into what these felonies are.
If you have three convictions for impaired driving in the past ten years, and you drive while impaired, you could be charged for Habitual DWI. This changes the case from an ordinary misdemeanor into a felony. These are prior convictions for impaired driving:
- Impaired Driving Under G.S. 20-138.1
- Habitual Impaired Driving Under G.S. 20-138.5
- Impaired Driving Under G.S. 20-138.2
- Death or Serious Injury by Vehicle Under G.S. 20-141.4 based on impaired driving
- Murder Under G.S. 14-17 based on Impaired Driving
- Involuntary Manslaughter under 14-18 based on impaired Driving
- Substantially Similar Crimes Committed in Another Jurisdiction
If you have any three of these convictions in the past 10 years, and you get a fourth one, you will be charged with Habitual DWI. A Habitual DWI conviction is a Class F felony. A conviction for Habitual DWI has a mandatory minimum one year sentence.
Felony Death or Serious Injury by Motor Vehicle
The other way is to cause death or serious injury when you are driving while impaired. This is a very serious charge. Death from motor vehicle accidents is obviously the main reason that DWI is illegal. Consequently, these cases have the worst penalties. If you have a prior DWI conviction within the past 7 years, this felony charge becomes an aggravated felony. Both Felony Death by Vehicle and Aggravated Felony Death by Vehicle are Class D felonies. These types of Felony DWI are the worst.
If you are committing DWI under N.C.G.S. 20-138.1 (or in a Commercial Vehicle under N.C.G.S. 20-138.2), and you cause an accident in which another person was seriously injured, then you could be convicted of Felony Serious Injury by Motor Vehicle. This is a Class F felony. Aggravated Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle is a Class E felony.
Clearly, each of these felony charges could put you behind bars, and therefore should be taken very seriously. Call our DWI attorney, Robert Reeves, today to discuss the options that you may have in your Felony DWI case. It would be our honor to represent you.