Watertown BWI Lawyer Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is dangerous, and the legal penalties for an offense can be severe. While everyone knows this, people are less familiar with the risks and consequences of boating while intoxicated (BWI). The state of New York treats these offenses similarly. If you were arrested on a charge, securing the services of a BWI lawyer in Watertown can be critical.
At DWI Tom, our legal team can help you fight back against a BWI charge. We have helped countless clients overcome the charges against them so they can move forward with their lives. Reach out to us today by giving us a call, using our chat tool, or filling out our online contact form and schedule a free initial case review with one of our Watertown DWI attorneys.
Common Defenses Used in BWI Cases
When facing a BWI charge, there are several defenses you could potentially use to avoid a conviction. When you hire a BWI attorney in Watertown, they will evaluate your case and determine the argument that will likely work best for your case. Some of the most often used defenses against BWI charges include:
- You were not intoxicated
- You were not operating the boat
- Your rights were violated
You Were Not Intoxicated
Obviously, if you were not intoxicated, you can not be guilty of BWI. Fortunately, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Unless they have hard evidence that you were intoxicated there are plenty of arguments your attorney can make to help sway the jury.
Both field sobriety tests and chemical tests are deeply flawed and can easily result in incorrect conclusions. Human error and faulty equipment are commonly responsible for false test results. Your lawyer can demonstrate the problems with these tests and may even be able to prove that the results of your tests were the result of errors.
You Were Not Operating the Boat
If you were not operating the boat, then you were not guilty of BWI. In many BWI cases, the person who was operating the watercraft is unclear. If the police arrive at the scene when the boat is not under power, determining who has been driving can be a challenge.
Unlike with cars, people tend to move around a boat a fair amount, and figuring out who was behind the wheel when the boat was in motion may be impossible. If there is no clear evidence that you were the one who was operating the boat, it will be very hard for the prosecution to prove otherwise.
Your Rights Were Violated
There are many laws in place to protect those who have been convicted of a crime to ensure they are not unjustly convicted. If the police violated your rights at any point, your attorney can appeal to the court.
The consequences of a violation can vary. In some cases, it can mean that certain evidence is inadmissible. In extreme cases, a violation of your rights could lead to your case getting dismissed outright.
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A Plea Deal May Be Your Best Option
If you are facing a BWI charge, the ideal outcome for your case will be to avoid a conviction. Unfortunately, this is not always realistic. If the evidence against you is overwhelming, your best outcome may be through plea bargaining.
Fortunately, prosecutors are often open to plea deals. The courts often have more cases than they can handle, so if a prosecutor can chalk your case up as a win and remove it from their caseload without the lengthy process of going to court, they may be willing to agree to a fairly lenient plea deal.
The terms of plea deals vary drastically. The details of your case, the willingness of the prosecutor to negotiate, and the experience of your attorney will all play a role in the final outcome. A plea deal may entail you pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for the BWI charge being dropped or pleading guilty to BWI and facing a minimal sentence.
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BWI Penalties in Watertown
You need to understand the penalties you will face if convicted of a BWI charge. Any BWI offense can result in serious consequences. However, if you already have a conviction on your record, you can expect the penalties to increase significantly.
Penalties for a First-Offense BWI
The state of New York prosecutes first-offense BWI charges as misdemeanors. If convicted of a charge, you will be fined from $500 to $1,000 and face jail time of up to one year. Additionally, your boat operator privilege will be revoked for 12 months.
Penalties for a Second-Offense BWI
If you have already been convicted of a BWI charge in the past 10 years, a second offense will be prosecuted as a Class E felony in New York. The penalties for a second conviction rise sharply, with $1,000 to $5,000 in fines and a prison term of up to four years. Furthermore, the suspension of your boat operator privilege will be extended to 24 months.
Penalties for a Third-Offense BWI
If you already have two BWI charges on your record in the last 10 years, the consequences of a third conviction will once again increase in severity. New York treats a third-offense BWI as a Class D felony. If you get convicted, the penalties include $2,000 to $10,000 in fines and a prison term of up to seven years.
In addition, you will once again face boat operator privilege suspension of 24 months.
DWIs Count as Past Offenses When Assessing Legal Penalties
When facing a BWI charge, if you have DWI charges on your record, they will be considered the same as BWIs and can count toward your prior convictions resulting in stricter penalties. However, DWIs will not be considered when it comes to your boat operator privilege.
Get a Free Initial Consultation from a Watertown BWI Attorney
Securing the services of an experienced BWI lawyer serving Watertown is the best way to protect yourself after a BWI arrest. Your attorney will be with you through every step of the process, from police interviews to court appearances. They will build a strong case on your behalf and fight to help you avoid a conviction.
At DWI Tom, we have the experience necessary to put us in the best position possible to help after an arrest. Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule your free initial case evaluation.