CHARGING UNDER THE NEW DWI LAW (Effective August 1, 2002)
Q.: What’s the biggest change for officers writing citations?
A.: Renumbering. First-, second-, and third-degree DWI violations will become second-, third-, and
fourth-degree DWI violations, respectively. Here’s how this works:
Q.: What is required for the new felony first-degree DWI?
A.: There are two ways of getting a felony DWI (new first-degree DWI):
1. Fourth in ten. If the driver has three prior DWI convictions or license revocations (based
on separate incidents) within ten years, the fourth DWI is a felony.
2. Prior felony DWI in lifetime. Once a driver is convicted under the new felony DWI law,
every subsequent DWI in the driver’s lifetime will also be a felony.
NOTE: The new felony depends only on priors, not “aggravating factors.” Example: On 8/1/02, a
driver is 0.28, has a baby in his car, and has 2 priors within 10 years. Although he has four aggravating
factors, he is guilty only of the new second-degree DWI (formerly known as first-degree DWI), because
this is not his fourth DWI in ten years.
These changes govern each DWI or test refusal that happens on or after August 1, 2002.
The County Attorney will prosecute all felony DWI offenses.
No aggravating factors
1 aggravating factor
2+ aggravating factors
Felony DWI (see below)