Is a DUI a felony in New York?

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are taken extremely seriously in the state of New York. In fact, New York has some of the strictest penalties for DUI convictions in the United States of America. Depending on a multitude of other variables regarding the incident, first-time offenders in a DUI case will only be charged with a misdemeanor. However, repeat offenses within a certain period of time can potentially classify a DUI charge as a felony. If you have recently been arrested for a DUI, please reach out to a Rockland county DUI attorney at the Law Office of Carl Spector for more information about your case.

How can a DUI become a felony in New York?

In order to be charged with a DUI, you must be 21 or older and have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. That alone will only be considered a misdemeanor in New York State if you are convicted. Although, your DUI charge can be upgraded to a felony depending on other crimes that may have occurred during the incident. This can include the reckless endangerment of a minor present in the vehicle, vehicular assault, and manslaughter among others.

However, in New York, felony convictions for a DUI charge are not limited to just additional offenses related to the initial incident. Your DUI case can still be classified as a felony based on multiple DUI charges within a specific timeframe. A second DUI conviction within 10 years would be treated as a class E felony, while a third offense in five years would be bumped up to a class D felony. Any felony conviction will appear on your criminal record which can result in severe consequences when it comes to your future prospects.

What are the penalties for a DUI in New York?

Even if it is only your first DUI offense, the penalties for a conviction can still be drastic. This can include fines between $500 to up to $1000, a suspension of your license for a minimum of six months, up to a year of jail time, mandatory attendance to an Impaired Driver Program (IDP), and an installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Second-time offenders face even harsher punishments with increased fines of $1,000 to up to $5,000, jail time of up to four years, and a revocation of their license for no less than one year. If you have been convicted of three or more DUI charges within 10 years, not only will you be subjected to higher fines and lengthier prison sentences, but you may also have your license permanently revoked.