Many people are surprised to learn that DWI can be charged at both the state and federal level, just like any other crime committed in the United States.
While the latter is not so common, DWI lawyers still call attention to it because the possibility is there and the repercussions can be much greater.
Learn here about federal DWI charges, how they differ from state charges, and when you need to seek the services of a federal criminal defense lawyer.
When Can You Be Federally Charged with DWI?
Most DWI charges are made at the state level because each state is the controlling entity for its own roadways.
Yet criminal defense lawyers warn that you can be charged with a federal DWI if you are stopped for driving under the influence while on federal property.
Those properties that fall under federal jurisdiction include but are not limited to:
- National parks as well as any federal historical and national monuments.
- Military bases, forts, schools, and naval air stations.
- Courthouses and other federally owned buildings including post offices.
What Is the Difference Between A Federal and State DWI?
To understand the seriousness of a federal conviction, DWI defense attorneys ;point out the significant differences between being charged at the federal level versus the state level, a few of which are listed below:
- Court is held at a federal courthouse as opposed to a local district courthouse.
- You will need a federal criminal defense lawyer who has been admitted to practice in a federal court.
- The case will be investigated by a federal law enforcement agency such as the FBI, DEA, ATF, or Secret Service to name a few.
- The case will be prosecuted by United States Attorneys, not prosecutors or district attorneys
- Federal grand juries are required in federal felony cases unless waived by the defendant.
What Are The Penalties for A Federal DWI?
Just as with state DWIs, the charges and penalties associated with a federal DWI can differ greatly depending on the individual circumstance, including whether there have been previous DWIs.
Penalties for a Federal DUI/DWI conviction include at the least mandatory classes on alcohol education, incarceration, and probation.
Members of the military might also received more penalties including a rank demotion, a letter of reprimand, and even possibly dismissal from that branch of the service.
Hire an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
DWI charges are always serious; however, if you are charged with DWI as a federal crime, you could be facing regarding future education and certain career choices.
It’s essential that you hire a DWI defense attorney licensed to represent you in federal court who can present a strong, valid defense on your behalf!
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