A driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction can have drastic consequences for the rest of your life. If you were charged with a first-offense DWI, it is essential that you fully understand the potential penalties you face and that you secure competent legal representation to help you fight back.
At DWI Tom, we know the challenges you are up against after a DWI arrest. Managing attorney Tom Anelli has over two decades of experience fighting for the rights of those accused of DWI offenses. Contact our firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
Penalties for a First-Offense DWI Conviction in Albany
The penalties for a DWI vary depending on whether it is a first offense or if you have any previous DWI convictions. While the consequences are not as severe for a first offense as they are for those with prior convictions, that does not mean that the penalties are light.
The penalties for a standard first-offense DWI conviction in New York include:
- A mandatory fine of $500 to $1,000
- A jail sentence of up to one year, but with no minimum sentence requirement
- A suspension of your driver’s license of at least six months
- A mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle once your driving privileges are restored
Aggravated DWI Penalties
Even if you have no prior DWI convictions, you can still face enhanced penalties if you are charged with aggravated DWI. There are two types of aggravated DWI charges in New York. You can be charged with an aggravated DWI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above 0.18% or if you were driving with a child in the car aged 15 or younger.
For an aggravated DWI charge, the mandatory fine will range from $1,000 to $2,500, and the minimum term for your driver’s license revocation will increase to one year.
Other Consequences of a First-Offense DWI Conviction
In addition to legal penalties for a first-offense DWI charge, you could also face a variety of other challenges in your life after a conviction. Some of the areas of your life that could be affected include:
- Your employment
- Your educational opportunities
- Your auto insurance rates
When seeking new employment opportunities, you need to understand that many employers run background checks on applicants. A DWI conviction on your record could inhibit your ability to secure gainful employment.
Furthermore, if you are already employed in a field that requires certain special licenses or security clearances, a DWI conviction could be grounds for dismissal.
As with employment, a DWI conviction could also affect your ability to enroll in a higher education institution.
If already enrolled, you could face disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the college or university.
Following a DWI conviction, your insurance rates will likely skyrocket. The increased cost of insurance can very quickly surpass the fines you receive from the court.
Refusing to Submit to Chemical Testing
Under New York law, anyone suspected of driving while intoxicated is required to consent to a breathalyzer or other form of chemical testing. Refusal could result in the immediate suspension of your license, as well as additional fines.
Plea Bargaining in DWI Cases
While beating a conviction is always going to be the preferred outcome, sometimes the evidence is overwhelming, and the likelihood of a win in court is slim. In these situations, a plea deal might be in your best interest to help you avoid the worst consequences of a conviction.
An experienced first-offense DWI lawyer serving Albany will be able to help you negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. In DWI cases, a common plea agreement that can be quite favorable is to plead guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving and have the DWI charge dropped. In addition to lesser penalties, a reckless driving charge comes with less social stigma than a DWI.
A plea deal involving pleading guilty to reckless driving instead of a DWI could mean avoiding any jail time, paying a smaller fine, and avoiding a license suspension and the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
Defenses Against a DWI Charge in Albany
Following a DWI charge, there are a variety of defenses you can employ depending on the particular details of your case. Your DWI attorney will review your case to figure out the best strategy for your situation.
One common defense is to question the accuracy of the chemical testing. Chemical testing is notoriously unreliable, with a variety of problems that can potentially corrupt the data. Problems with this testing can often be linked to equipment malfunctions and human error.
Another defense can be to argue that your rights were violated if the police failed to follow proper procedure during your DWI stop, during your arrest, or while processing evidence in your case. A violation of your rights can result in certain evidence being inadmissible or even in a judge deciding to throw your case out entirely.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With an Albany First-Offense DWI Attorney Today
It is critical that you don’t take a DWI charge lightly. Attempting to fight this charge on your own is unlikely to result in a favorable outcome. You need to remember that even lawyers hire other lawyers when dealing with their own legal battles. At DWI Tom, we understand the challenges you face after an arrest and will do everything in our power to minimize the consequences.
Our team of Albany first-offense DWI attorneys has helped countless people facing DWI charges avoid a conviction. If this isn’t possible in your case, we will work to ensure that we minimize the penalties you face through a plea deal. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.