Saratoga Springs BWI Lawyer
Boating while intoxicated (BWI) can be incredibly dangerous, and the legal penalties can be severe. If you were charged with this offense, you should know that the state of New York treats BWI offenses just as seriously as driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges. If arrested, securing the services of an experienced BWI lawyer in Saratoga Springs can be critical.
At DWI Tom, we know how BWI cases are handled in New York. Our team of experienced attorneys will work diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Reach out to us today by giving us a call, using our online chat tool, or completing our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Saratoga Springs DWI lawyer.
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Defenses Commonly Used in BWI Cases
When charged with a BWI, there are likely going to be multiple defenses you could use to fight the charges against you. After your Saratoga Springs BWI lawyer has reviewed the details of your case, they will determine the best approach to use to help you beat the charges against you. Some of the most commonly used arguments in BWI cases include:
- Your rights were violated
- You were not intoxicated
- You were not operating the boat
Your Rights Were Violated
There are many laws both at the state and national level which protect those accused of a crime from malicious prosecution and wrongful conviction. If police officers violated your rights at any point, your Saratoga Springs BWI lawyer will petition the court to take action.
If the judge agrees that your rights were, in fact, violated, there are several ways this could help your case. In cases involving particularly extreme violations, the judge may declare all the evidence against you inadmissible and the charges against you dismissed.
You Were Not Intoxicated
If you were not intoxicated, you couldn’t have been guilty of BWI. When making this argument, you benefit from the fact that the burden of proof is with the prosecution. If they fail to produce hard evidence that proves you were intoxicated, your BWI attorney in Saratoga Springs will likely have an easy enough time poking holes in the prosecutor’s case.
Even if you failed a chemical or field sobriety test at the time of your arrest, your attorney will still be able to make an argument based on the inherent flaws in these testing procedures. Your lawyer will be able to show how these tests often lead to inaccurate results because of equipment malfunctions and human error.
They may even be able to prove that mistakes were made in the tests in your case.
You Were Not Operating the Boat
If you were not driving the boat, you should not be found guilty of BWI. When the police arrive at the scene while the boat is no longer under power, it can be challenging to tell who was behind the wheel of the watercraft. Unless the prosecution has evidence that clearly shows you were operating the boat, they can struggle to prove their case.
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Penalties in Saratoga Springs BWI Cases
If you are arrested for BWI in Saratoga Springs, it is important that you understand the penalties you will face if convicted of this charge. Saratoga Springs treats BWI offenses as serious crimes, and the consequences of a conviction will increase if you have past offenses on your record.
First-Offense BWI Charge
In the state of New York, a first-offense BWI charge is treated as a misdemeanor. If convicted, the penalties you’ll face include up to one year in jail and fines from $500 to $1,000. In addition, you will also lose your boat operator privilege for one year.
Second-Offense BWI Charge
When you have a prior BWI conviction on your record within the past 10 years, a second offense will be prosecuted as a Class E felony in New York. If convicted, you will face penalties of up to four years in prison and fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Furthermore, you will lose your boat operator privilege for two years.
Third-Offense BWI Charge
When facing a third-offense BWI conviction within a 10-year period, you should know that New York prosecutes this charge as a Class D felony. If convicted, the penalties will once again drastically increase, with a prison sentence of up to seven years and fines between $2,000 and $10,000. Additionally, your boat operator privilege will again be suspended for two years.
DWIs Count Toward Prior Offenses in BWI Cases
You need to know that when determining how to charge a BWI offense, the state of New York will count any DWI convictions on your record in the past 10 years as prior offenses, just as they do with prior BWI convictions.
While a previous DWI conviction can increase your incarceration time and fines, it will not be taken into consideration when determining the length of a revocation of your boat operator privilege.
Plea Bargaining in a BWI Case
The ideal outcome when facing a BWI charge is always going to be avoiding a conviction. Unfortunately, when the evidence against you is profound, beating a conviction can be challenging. In this case, your best option for avoiding the worst consequences of a BWI charge may be negotiating a deal through plea bargaining.
When attempting to work out a deal with the prosecution, the good news is that the courts are usually backed up, and prosecutors generally have larger caseloads than they can handle. That means that as long as they can chalk it up as a win and get your case off their desk, the prosecution is likely going to be willing to negotiate.
The terms your lawyer will be able to negotiate through plea bargaining depend on a variety of factors, including:
- The strength of the prosecution’s evidence against you
- Whether you have prior convictions on your record
- Whether anyone was harmed as a result of your actions
- The size of the prosecutor’s workload
Plea deals can look drastically different from case to case. The terms of your deal may include pleading guilty to the original BWI charge, in exchange for leniency in sentencing, receiving penalties at or near the minimum requirements. Alternatively, you may end up pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for the prosecution dropping the BWI.
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Reach Out to a Saratoga Springs BWI Lawyer Today
After an arrest, the best way to give yourself a chance of beating the charges against you is by hiring an experienced BWI lawyer in Saratoga Springs. At DWI Tom, we have a long track record of success helping our clients fight back against the charges against them. Contact us today through our website or by phone to schedule a free initial consultation.