When accused of driving under the influence, the circumstances surrounding the incident can have a massive impact on the level of charges filed and the severity of the potential consequences. What types of things can elevate a drunk driving charge from a misdemeanor to a felony in West Virginia? What can one do if faced with such significant criminal charges?
Most DUI cases are categorized as misdemeanors. However, there are certain circumstances that can result in felony charges being filed. These tend to include:
- Extremely elevated blood alcohol concentration
- DUI resulting in bodily harm
- Multiple DUI's
- DUI with children in vehicle
- DUI with a suspended/revoked license
Driving while intoxicated in any way is considered a serious public safety threat. As such, authorities will not hesitate when it comes to filing elevated charges if anything surrounding such an incident seems to fit within the felony level. The potential consequences for this level of charge include imprisonment, fines and probation -- among others. A misdemeanor, on the other hand, is generally punishable by license suspension, fines, rehabilitation and/or jail time. Clearly, felony level charges have the potential of keeping alleged offenders off the streets for longer periods of time.
Those in West Virginia who are facing felony level drunk driving charges are not in hopeless positions. Legal assistance is available to help these individuals resolve their cases in ways that best suit their personal situations. Various criminal defense strategies exist that could be of benefit to one's case. The accused, with his or her counsel, can carefully review the facts of the case, examine and question any evidence and then make an informed decision regarding the best route to take in order to seek a case dismissal or at least a reduction in charges.
Source: FindLaw, "Felony DUI", Accessed on Oct. 14, 2015