A driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction can profoundly impact your life. DWI charges are treated incredibly seriously in Saratoga Springs, and depending on the specific circumstances, this offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Even a milder first-offense DWI can result in harsh penalties.
At DWI Tom, we have a long history of helping our clients avoid the worst consequences after a DWI arrest. Reach out to us today by phone or through this website to learn more about how we can help you through a free consultation with one of our Saratoga Springs DWI lawyers.
Potential Penalties for a DWI Charge in New York
Following a DWI arrest, the penalties you will face if convicted can be quite harsh. Various factors can affect the severity of the penalties you will receive, including if you have any past DWI convictions on your record.
Penalties for a First Offense
If you don’t have any prior DWI convictions on your record, you will be charged with a misdemeanor offense. The consequences of a conviction include:
- A mandatory fine of $500 to $1,000
- Up to one year of jail time, but with no minimum sentencing requirement
- Suspension 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 lasting at least six months
Penalties for a Second Offense
If you are charged with a DWI within 10 years of a previous DWI conviction, your charge can be classified as a Class E felony. The consequences of a conviction include:
- A mandatory fine of $1,000 to $5,000
- Up to four years in prison, with a minimum sentence of five days (although the minimum sentence can be replaced with 30 days of community service at the judge’s discretion)
- Suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum of one year
- Installation of an IID in your vehicle when your driving privileges are restored, lasting at least six months
- Mandatory alcohol rehabilitation before your driving privileges will be restored
There is a small chance that a second-offense DWI will be charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. If this happens in your case, you will face punishments similar to those of a first-time offender.
An Aggravated DWI Charge Can Increase the Penalties You Face
If you are charged with an aggravated DWI, the penalties you face could increase. Aggravated DWI is charged in two separate situations. You could face this charge if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above 0.18% or if you were driving with a child aged 15 or younger in your vehicle.
Other Ramifications of a DWI Conviction
In addition to legal penalties, there are a variety of other consequences that can result from a DWI conviction. Some of the areas of your life that could be affected include your:
- Insurance rates
- Employment opportunities
Insurers are wary of providing coverage to high-risk drivers. To mitigate their risk of insuring these drivers, they will only do so at high rates. That means that if you were convicted of a DWI, you can expect your insurance rates to increase significantly.
It is likely that the additional money spent on insurance coverage will quickly become more significant than any fine leveled by the court.
A DWI on your record can pose significant challenges when looking for new employment opportunities. Most employers run background checks on interviewees, and if this check turns up a DWI, it will likely decrease your chances of gaining employment. For certain positions, a DWI conviction will outright disqualify you from consideration.
A DWI can also affect your chances of gaining enrollment in a higher education institution. Even if a college or university does admit you with a DWI on your record, it will be significantly more challenging to obtain a scholarship or other form of financial aid.
Even if you are already enrolled, a DWI can impact your educational situation. A DWI could result in various disciplinary actions, including the loss of any scholarship or your expulsion from the school you attend.
Should I Take a Plea Deal Following a DWI Arrest?
When you hire an experienced DWI lawyer serving Saratoga Springs, they will do everything in their power to give you the best chance of beating the charges you face. Unfortunately, this is not possible in all cases. If the evidence against you is overwhelming, your best option might be to pursue a favorable plea deal that minimizes the penalties you will face.
There are different types of plea agreements. In some cases, a defendant will plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for the prosecution dropping the original charge. In other cases, a defendant may plead guilty to the original charge in exchange for guarantees of receiving the minimum sentence available for the charge.
When negotiating a plea deal, your attorney will advise you of the pros and cons of any offer you receive. They will advise you of whether the deal is in your favor or if you would likely be better served by taking your chances at trial.
Get a Free Consultation from an Experienced Saratoga Springs DWI Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a DWI, it is critical that you take the charge seriously. You need to secure the services of an experienced DWI lawyer to increase your odds of a favorable outcome to your case.
At DWI Tom, we have been helping our clients fight back against DWI charges for years. Reach out to us today by using our chat tool, filling out our contact form, or giving us a call and scheduling a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.