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When Does a DWI Become a Felony in New Hampshire?

  • By: MMM
  • Published: April 5, 2022

When a DWI becomes a felony in New Hampshire

If you have encountered various DWI charges or are facing new charges, you may be wondering what a DUI felony is and when a DWI can be counted as a felony. At Shepherd & Hayes Law Firm, we understand that facing these charges is challenging and stressful. Understanding the law and how a felony charge affects your record can help you take immediate action if you are up against the penalties for a DWI felony. 

Know that DUI and DWI are essentially the same things in New Hampshire. However, aggravated DUI cases differ from a DUI charge or the subsequent charges one may face. Our legal team is experienced and knowledgeable in strategizing an aggressive defense for our clients. A skilled New Hampshire DWI defense lawyer can help you face the process of an alcohol-related offense. Continue reading to learn more about a DUI conviction and when one may face felony charges for driving while under the influence. 

Understanding DUI Convictions 

In New Hampshire, if you are pulled over by a police officer and are discovered to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more while operating a vehicle, this constitutes a DUI charge, and you may be arrested. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and an individual convicted may face the full extent of penalties in fines, jail time, and license suspension. 

Initially treated as a misdemeanor, a DWI charge can be increased to a felony upon a conviction in different cases. It is essential to understand the difference between a misdemeanor and felony charge and when a DWI conviction is considered a felony. 

Classification of DUI convictions include:

  • Misdemeanor 
  • Subsequent misdemeanor
  • Class A misdemeanor, aggravated DWI
  • Class B felony, aggravated DWI

All DWI charges are serious. However, with an expert DWI attorney, you can face the charges with an aggressive defense strategy on your side. Attempting to handle a case independently, especially when facing multiple DWI charges, can lead you to meet the full extent of penalties warranted for these charges. An attorney on your side helps you by protecting your rights and ensuring that you have a strategic defense in your favor.  

When Does a DWI Offense Reach a Felony Charge?

Different circumstances may cause a DWI charge to be treated as a felony in New Hampshire. First, second, and third DWIs are typically misdemeanors, but if there are three or more offenses within ten years, the offense will be counted as a felony. DWI convictions lead individuals to face penalties of hefty fines, jail time, and license suspensions. 

In addition to subsequent offenses within a specific period, other DUI offenses can be counted as felonies under different circumstances. For example, an aggravated DUI, where a driver under the influence causes someone to be seriously injured, is treated as a class B felony in New Hampshire. In a case where a convicted motorist is charged with negligent homicide for causing the death of another while driving under the influence, this is counted as a class A felony. 

Penalties for Felony DWIs in New Hampshire

Driving under the influence is very dangerous, and DWI accidents result in serious accidents, fatalities, and traumatic events that injure those involved. Understandably, individuals are not in their best state of mind when driving under the influence. Law enforcement strictly enforces the laws and penalties of driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol to prevent the case of a severe or fatal accident that an individual may cause. 

The penalties for a felony DWI in New Hampshire result in jail time and hefty fines. In addition, those convicted may be expected to adhere to other consequences such as license suspensions, enrollment in a drug or alcohol treatment program, an ignition interlock device once your license is reinstated, and other life changes that come with a DWI conviction. 

The court may choose to impose a jail sentence for up to seven years, impose a fine of at least $1,000, and a license revocation of two years. 

Additionally, penalties for an aggravated DUI that results in bodily injuries may have increased penalties for incarceration time, treatment, and license revocation periods. Regardless of where you stand in the number of offenses and charges you are up against, a felony charge is challenging and harmful to your record. Speaking with a skilled attorney before your court date can help you understand your rights and avoid any mistakes resulting in the worst outcome for your situation. 

How Does a Felony Charge Affect My Life?

A felony differs from a misdemeanor in many ways. Felonies often result in at least one year of jail time and are considered the most severe level of crime. 

While a legal team can help you fight the charges of misdemeanors or lessen the extent of a felony DWI charge, these cases are significant and can alter different aspects of your life. Your job, family, child custody rights, driving privileges, and other essential parts of your life can be changed by a felony conviction and the penalties you are subject to. 

Call Shepherd & Hayes for Experienced and Aggressive Legal Representation in a DWI Case

At Shepherd & Hayes Law Firm, our experienced attorneys have successfully helped many clients face the challenges and difficulties that DWI penalties may bring. We understand that law enforcement and courthouse professionals can misunderstand or misconstrue the reality of what happened during an arrest and the event that led to an arrest. If you face charges in a DWI case, our legal professionals can defend your rights and evaluate every aspect of your case. We want to prove the truth about your case and the events that led to your arrest so that you are not subject to wrongful convictions and penalties. To schedule a free consultation, fill out our contact form or call our office at (603) 233-1626, and our team will get back to you.

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