What is the Felony DWI Court, and am I eligible?

New York residents may be interested in learning about a separate court for those charged with driving while intoxicated in Brooklyn. Felony DWI Court was established by the Kings County Supreme Court in late 2010 as part of the Brooklyn Treatment Court. This special court is separate from the usual system but has specific qualifications for eligibility.

The Felony DWI Court seeks to use substance abuse treatment rather than jail time in order to rehabilitate those facing a DWI charge. There are certain things that must be true in order for the person charged to be eligible for the court. For example, they must be at least 21 years old and any prior DWI charge must be one of a few specific misdemeanor charges.

Certain aspects of the case may remove eligibility for Felony DWI Court, however. For instance, if there was a child who is 15 years old or younger involved in the incident, a defendant might be denied having their case tried in the special court. In addition, the person facing charges might not be permitted to have the case tried in the court if any of the current or past charges involved a serious injury or death. If the case is eligible, the district attorney’s office will evaluate the case. If it is chosen for Felony DWI Court, the arraignment notice will be stamped with the words “DWI COURT ELIGIBLE.”

Eligibility for Felony DWI Court is just the first step in a difficult legal process, and the information here should not be considered as legal advice. If a person is facing drunk driving charges, an attorney may be able to help. The attorney may be useful in representing the person in front of the judge in order to disprove the government’s evidence or fight against the charges.

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