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When could you face charges for felony DWI?

Any DWI conviction will have an impact on your life. In addition to potential fines and incarceration, your professional and personal lives could be affected as well. Even a relatively short suspension of your driver's license can wreak havoc on your daily life. If you drive for a living, you may not be able to work.

These and other circumstances can arise even for misdemeanor convictions for DWI. However, when you face felony DWI charges, the stakes rise even more. You could face prison time, hefty fines and irrevocable changes to your future.

What circumstances could constitute a felony DWI charge?

Not every DWI becomes a felony, but under certain circumstances, the chances are high that you could face a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor:

  • Here in Missouri, the most common reason you could face a felony DWI charge happens when you reach your third DWI charge. 
  • If you are involved in an alcohol-related accident in which another person suffers serious or fatal injuries, you could face felony DWI, along with other charges such as vehicular assault or vehicular homicide.
  • If your blood alcohol concentration level reaches a certain point, the charge might become a felony.
  • If you have children in your vehicle, that could raise the level of the offense.
  • If you drive impaired while your license is suspended or revoked, the charge could turn into felony DWI.

What happens to you from this point forward will have a substantial impact on your future. Missouri laws classify felony DWI as a Class D felony, which comes with a maximum prison sentence of four years. If other factors are involved, such as serious injuries or deaths associated with your impairment, the sentence could be even longer. You don't really have the luxury of letting the system runs its course. Instead, you may want to take every step possible to challenge the charges.

You may not think you have any choice in the matter, but that may not be the case. Police, lab technicians, prosecutors and other authorities who may be involved in your case make mistakes. From the moment you come into contact with police, whether through a traffic stop or accident scene, the potential that someone could violate your rights is a real possibility. Conducting a thorough investigation into the situation and exploring every avenue could reveal the path to the best outcome possible under the circumstances.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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