If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated, the outcome of the case largely depends on whether the charges are filed as a misdemeanor or felony. In both cases, an effective attorney will help you understand the available options and based on the charges in question. Christopher J. Swatosh, Attorney at Law of Ava, MO, provides legal assistance to clients in need. This defense attorney believes in educating clients about their rights and offers this guide to the distinctions between misdemeanor and felony charges.
Most drunk driving arrests are classed as misdemeanors. While less serious than a felony charge, misdemeanor DWI often warrants help from an attorney to determine whether the penalty is fair. Misdemeanor DWI carries the possibility of up to one year in jail and a fine. The amount you need to pay can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the nature of the charge.
Many drivers also face license suspension; the duration of this penalty depends on factors like your blood alcohol content at the time of arrest and associated charges such as reckless driving.
Felony DWI charges are issued after multiple offenses. An individual’s third arrest results in class D felony charges and a “persistent offender label,” and the fourth arrest results in class E felony charges and a “habitual offender” label. If another person is injured as a result of your intoxicated driving, you may also be charged with a felony.
There are numerous consequences associated with felony charges, from loss of employment opportunities to suspended voting rights. Jail terms and fines more severe, and you may even be subject to a permanent revocation of your driving privileges.
After a DWI arrest, Christopher J. Swatosh, Attorney at Law will help you understand your rights and responsibilities. Backed by more than 20 years of criminal law experience, this firm has the skills to build an effective defense strategy against misdemeanor and felony charges. Visit the firm on Facebook for more helpful advice, and call (417) 683-2987 to schedule a consultation with a defense attorney today.