Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is treated as a serious offense in New York. A conviction for a first-offense DWI will result in severe penalties, including an expensive fine and potential incarceration. If facing a charge, it is essential that you secure experienced legal representation to help you avoid a conviction and beat the charges against you.
At DWI Tom, our team of experienced New York first-offense DWI attorneys has a long history of helping those arrested for DWI fight back. Managing Attorney Tom Anelli has over two decades of experience handling these types of cases. Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.
Penalties for a First-Offense DWI in New York
When arrested on a DWI charge in New York, you need to understand the potential penalties you are up against. While the consequences are not as severe for first-time offenders as they are for those with previous DWI charges on their record, they can still be quite harsh. In New York, a first-offense DWI is treated as a misdemeanor, which means jail time is a possibility.
The potential legal consequences for a conviction include:
- A mandatory fine of $500 to $1,000
- Up to one year of jail time, but with no minimum sentencing requirement
- Revocation of your driver’s license for a minimum of six months
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle when your driving privileges are restored
The Penalties for an Aggravated DWI Charge
Even if this is your first offense, you can still face an aggravated DWI charge, depending on the circumstances of your case. There are two ways in which you can be charged with an aggravated DWI. The first is if you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.18%, and the second is if you were driving with a child aged 15 or under in the car.
An aggravated DWI charge can lead to substantially increased penalties. For example, the potential fine range for a first offense can increase from $500-$1,000 up to $1,000-$2,500. Additionally, the suspension of your driving privileges will increase from a minimum of six months to a minimum of one year.
Additional Consequences Associated With a First-Offense DWI Conviction
Beyond the legal consequences of a DWI conviction, there are a variety of other effects that a conviction can have on your life. Some of the areas of your life that can be affected by a conviction include your:
- Insurance rates
- Employment opportunities
A DWI conviction will lead to a dramatic increase in your insurance rates. Insurers are reluctant to provide coverage for high-risk drivers and will only do so at incredibly high rates. The additional money you will spend on insurance coverage will quickly surpass any fine leveled by the court as punishment for your DWI conviction.
When applying for a new job, you will likely be subjected to a background check. If you have a DWI conviction on your record, the hiring manager is unlikely to extend you an offer for employment. For certain positions that require special licensing or security clearances, a DWI could disqualify you entirely.
Just as it can affect your employment opportunities, a DWI can have a similar effect on your prospects for higher education. A college or university is far less likely to accept your application if you have a DWI on your record, and even if you are accepted, your options for financial aid to help pay for your schooling will be limited.
A DWI can affect your educational standing even if you are already enrolled. You could face a variety of disciplinary actions, including the revocation of any scholarships you currently have, as well as expulsion.
Negotiating a Plea Deal After a DWI Arrest
After getting arrested on a DWI charge, your experienced first-offense DWI lawyer in New York will work diligently to beat the charges against you. Unfortunately, sometimes the evidence is too strong to make winning your case outright a likely outcome. In this case, negotiating a plea deal might be your best option for minimizing the consequences you face.
There are a variety of types of plea deals. While the specifics vary, the general idea is that you will plead guilty to a charge in exchange for leniency from the court. This could come in the form of pleading guilty to a lesser charge with lighter penalties or pleading guilty to the DWI with a guarantee of receiving the minimum sentencing.
Your attorney will evaluate the pros and cons of any deal offer you receive and advise you on whether it is in your best interest to take the deal or if you should fight it out in court.
Defenses Commonly Used in DWI Cases
There are a variety of defenses you can use when fighting a DWI charge. Your New York first-offense DWI attorney will evaluate your case to determine the best approach to take when building your defense.
A common defense used in these cases is to argue that the chemical test results were invalid. Chemical testing is often unreliable, and your attorney can use examples of past errors combined with any evidence that mistakes were made with your testing to argue that faulty equipment or human error led to a false result.
Another common defense is to argue that your rights were violated by law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, violations of the rights of defendants are more common than you might think. If the police failed to follow procedure and respect your rights, you could argue for the exclusion of certain evidence or the outright dismissal of the charges against you.
Consult an Experienced First-Offense DWI Attorney Serving New York Today
When facing a DWI charge, you must secure the services of an experienced DWI lawyer. Fighting this serious charge on your own is unlikely to yield favorable results.
At DWI Tom, we have a long history of helping our clients fight back against DWI charges. Contact us today by using our chat tool, giving us a call, or completing our online contact form and schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.