DWI With a Suspended License
Driving While Intoxicated is usually a misdemeanor. Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO), which means you were driving with a suspended license, is usually a misdemeanor. However, if you get charged with a DWI while your license suspended, you could potentially be faced with a felony charge. Under certain circumstances, a DWI with a suspended license can result in you being charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the 1st Degree, a class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in state prison.
A person's license can be suspended for a number of reasons. Failing to answer a ticket, pay a fine, pay child support, refusing a breathalyzer, or a lapse in one's insurance are just a few ways that a person's license can be suspended or revoked. A person can also have multiple suspensions on his or her license at one time. A common way for a person to have his license suspended is to be charged with a DWI or convicted of a DWI or DWAI. When a person is charged with a DWI his license is suspended for the pendency of the case. If he is convicted of either a DWI or DWAI, then his license will be suspended again.
While there are a few ways that you can be charged with a felony AUO, one common way is if you are charged with a DWI. Whether or not the AUO becomes a felony will depend on the reason for your license suspension. There are three ways that the AUO can become a felony if also charged with a DWI: (1) the basis of your license suspension is the result of a chemical test refusal or a conviction of a DWI or DWAI, (2) the basis of the suspension is a pending case for another DWI, or (3) your license was suspended 3 or more times on at least 3 different dates. If your license has been suspended for one of these three reasons and you are charged with a DWI, you will be facing a class E felony.