When is a DWI a Felony in Missouri?
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are serious criminal offenses that carry serious criminal penalties. If you or your loved one has recently been arrested and charged with DWI or a related offense, it is important to understand the nature of your charges, the penalties you face, and how you can benefit from working with an experienced lawyer from The Hammer Law Firm, LLC.
Although many DWIs – particularly first DWIs– are prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses, there are a few ways in which drivers can be charged with a felony. When felony charges do arise, it is important to understand that they are extremely serious and that they can pose life-altering consequences.
In Missouri, crimes are classified as felonies when they result in minimum fines of $1,000 and minimum terms of imprisonment of at least one year. Although cases can vary, you may be charged with a felony DWI for any of the following reasons:
- Third DWI - In Missouri, a third DWI is a felony. This means that if you have been convicted of two or more DWI or any related offense – including out of state DWIs or DUIs – you can face felony charges upon your third or subsequent DWI arrest. Third DWIs are considered Class D felonies and are punishable by up to four or five year imprisonment, fines, a 10 year driver's license revocation, and other penalties. With more DWI convictions, penalties may also increase. Fourth DWIs, for example, are considered Class C felonies and can carry longer terms of imprisonment.
- Prior Felony DWI - Individuals may also face felony charges if they have been convicted of a felony DWI at any time in the past. No matter if the new arrest is not typically a felony offense, prosecutors can still file felony charges if a driver has previously been convicted of any felony DWI.
- DWIs Resulting in Injury or Death - Drivers may face felony DWI allegations if they cause an accident that results in serious injury or death. These cases are the most serious DWI charges and the most severely punished. If you or your loved one is currently facing charges for a DWI involving an injury or death, you need to speak with legal representation as soon as possible.
Although any situation involving felony allegations is considered serious, there are certain circumstances which can elevate penalties, including a history of DWI offenses, child passengers, and more. Anyone who stands accused of a felony DWI should contact a St. Louis DWI attorney from The Hammer Law Firm, LLC as soon as possible. Our legal team has successfully represented many individuals charged with various felony DWIs in the past – and we are prepared to fight on your behalf today.
For more information about your case and how a St. Louis DWI lawyer can help, request a free case evaluation today.