DWIs are typically charged as misdemeanors in Vermont. However, in some circumstances, a person arrested for driving while intoxicated may be charged with a felony. A felony conviction can result in greater jail time, bigger fines, and other severe legal punishments. Therefore, it’s crucial a defendant hire a DWI attorney in Burlington VT as soon as he or she is arrested to minimize the possibility of being convicted of a felony.
When a DUI May Be Charged as a Felony
There are several different things that may cause a prosecutor to charge a defendant with a felony in a DWI case. The first, and possibly most common reason, is the individual has been convicted of a DWI before. In Vermont, people who already have 2 DWIs on their records will be charged with a felony on their third offense. The lookback period in Vermont is the person’s lifetime, and DWIs committed in other states may be included in the prosecutor’s assessment.
Another reason a DWI may be escalated to a felony is if the defendant caused an accident that resulted in death or injury to other people. In fact, the prosecutor will typically levy additional charges in these types of cases. For instance, if someone was killed in an accident caused by the defendant driving while intoxicated, the prosecutor may charge the person with manslaughter or reckless homicide.
Getting Felony Charges Reduced or Eliminated
Whether or not a felony charge can be reduced or eliminated depends on the circumstances of the case. However, there may be a few things a DWI Attorney in Burlington VT can do to help the defendant’s case. For instance, the attorney may be able to contest the aspects of the case that caused the charge to turn into a felony (e.g. dispute the results of the breathalyzer test). Another option would be to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor to reduce the charges.
DWI cases are fraught with complexity, which is why defendants should take care to hire experienced attorneys to help with their cases. For more information about litigating a DWI case, contact Jason J. Sawyer Attorney And Counselor At Law.