Rochester BWI Lawyer
Everyone knows driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be incredibly hazardous and result in catastrophic damage. However, people don’t tend to think as much about the dangers of boating while intoxicated (BWI). You should know, though, that New York treats these offenses the same. If you were arrested, securing the services of a BWI lawyer in Rochester can be critical.
At DWI Tom, we have helped countless people charged with a BWI offense in Rochester. We know how drastically a conviction can affect your life and will work diligently to help you beat a charge. Contact us today by giving us a call, completing our online contact form, or using our chat tool, and schedule your free consultation with one of our Rochester DWI lawyers.
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Defenses Used Against BWI Charges
Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are a variety of defenses you could potentially use against a BWI charge. When you hire an experienced Rochester BWI lawyer, they will investigate your case and determine the argument that will have the highest chance of success in your case.
Some common defenses against BWI charges include:
- You were not driving the boat
- You were not intoxicated
- Your rights were violated
You Were Not Driving the Boat
Obviously, if you were not the one operating the boat, you should not be convicted of a BWI charge. Determining who was driving a boat can be challenging if the police arrive at the scene when the boat is not in motion, and nobody is behind the wheel. You may have been mistakenly assumed to be the boat operator.
The good news is that your attorney doesn’t have to prove that you weren’t operating the boat. Instead, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. If your attorney can sow doubt about who was behind the wheel, the prosecutor may be hard-pressed to present evidence that you were, in fact, driving.
You Were Not Intoxicated
Another common defense in these types of cases is that you were not intoxicated. You can not be guilty of boating while intoxicated if you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are many ways to argue that you were not intoxicated.
Both field sobriety tests and chemical testing are deeply flawed. Human error and faulty equipment can lead to inaccurate results. By showing the inherent flaws in these tests and potentially by showing specific mistakes that were made in your case, your Rochester BWI lawyer can make this a very effective argument.
Your Rights Were Violated
The fact that you are facing criminal charges does not mean you don’t have rights. There are many national and state laws that protect those who have been accused of a crime to ensure they get a fair trial.
If your rights were violated by the police, your Rochester BWI lawyer may be able to get some of the evidence against you thrown out. In extreme cases, they may even succeed in getting your case dismissed.
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Penalties If Convicted of BWI in Rochester
If you were arrested on suspicion of BWI, it is critical that you understand the legal consequences of a conviction. While BWI offenses were once considered to be minor charges compared to DWIs in New York, that changed with the passing of legislation in 2006. Now the legal consequences of a BWI are the same as those of a DWI throughout the state.
If you already have a BWI conviction on your record, you need to understand that the penalties increase with additional offenses.
First Offense BWI Penalties
In Rochester, a first-offense BWI is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this charge, you will face jail time of up to one year and fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. In addition, your boat operator privilege will be suspended for 12 months.
Second-Offense BWI Penalties
If you already have a BWI conviction on your record within the last 10 years, a second offense will be treated as a Class E felony. The consequences of a second conviction increase dramatically. The potential prison time for a second offense is four years and fines increase to between $1,000 and $5,000.
Additionally, the suspension of your boat operator privilege will increase to 24 months.
Third-Offense BWI Penalties
If you are facing a third BWI charge in 10 years, the penalties for a conviction will again increase. In Rochester, a third-offense BWI is prosecuted as a Class D felony. If convicted, you will face up to seven years in prison, and fines rise to between $2,000 and $10,000. Furthermore, you will once again face a 24-month suspension of your boat operator privilege.
DWI Convictions Count As Past Offenses for Legal Penalties
When determining the legal consequences of a BWI conviction, you need to understand that DWIs count as prior convictions in the same manner as BWIs. The only area in which this does not hold true is with the suspension of your boat operator privilege. Only a prior BWI offense can increase the length of a suspension.
When to Agree to a Plea Deal
Of course, when facing a BWI charge, the best possible outcome is to avoid a conviction. However, when the evidence against you is overwhelming, negotiating a deal through plea bargaining might be your best option.
The good news when it comes to these negotiations is that prosecutors are often overworked, with a large stack of case files they need to get through. Because of this, there is a decent chance that they will agree to a favorable deal as long as they can chalk it up as a win and move it off their desk without having to spend the time and resources to take it to court.
The terms of a plea deal can vary. You might end up pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for the prosecution dropping the BWI charge. Alternatively, you might plead guilty to the BWI charge in exchange for the prosecution agreeing to enforce penalties at or near the minimum sentencing guidelines.
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Contact an Experienced Rochester BWI Lawyer to Get a Free Consultation
Following a BWI arrest, it is essential that you take steps to protect yourself. The best action you can take is to hire an experienced Rochester BWI lawyer. Your attorney will be there during police interrogation and help you through every step of the process as your case proceeds through the court system.
At DWI Tom, we have a long history of helping secure favorable outcomes for our clients. Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.