Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is treated as a serious offense in New York. If you are convicted, you could face severe penalties. While the punishments for a first offense are less severe than if you have prior DWI convictions on your record, these penalties still have the potential to drastically affect your life.
At DWI Tom, we have helped countless people fight the charges against them after DWI arrests. Our experienced team, led by managing attorney Tom Anelli knows how New York DWI cases are processed and can devise a defense strategy that works for your situation. Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free initial consultation.
Potential Penalties for a First-Offense DWI Conviction in Syracuse
If convicted of a first-offense DWI in Syracuse, you will be facing harsh penalties. New York treats DWI offenses as misdemeanors, which means that in addition to fines, you could face possible jail time. The penalties for a first offense are not as severe as they are for repeat offenders. However, they can still have an effect on every aspect of your life.
Legal penalties for a first-offense DWI in Syracuse, NY, include:
- A mandatory fine of $500 to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year, but with no minimum sentence requirement
- Suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum of six months
- A mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle once your driving privileges are restored
Penalties for an Aggravated DWI
If you are found guilty of an aggravated DWI, the penalties for a first offense can increase significantly. Rather than facing a fine of $500 to $1,000, you will be looking at a fine of $1,000 to $2,500. Additionally, the minimum term for your driver’s license suspension will increase from six months to one year.
There are two types of aggravated DWI charges. Police can assess this charge if you were driving with a child aged 15 or younger in the car at the time of your arrest or if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above 0.18%.
Additional Consequences Associated With a First-Offense DWI Conviction
If charged with a DWI, there are several other consequences that could affect your life beyond the legal ramifications of a conviction. Some of the challenges that could result include:
- Increased insurance rates
- Employment issues
- Educational difficulties
Following a DWI conviction, your insurance rates will increase significantly. The effect on your insurance premiums can quickly make the financial costs from increased rates more significant than the fine leveled by the court.
A DWI on your record can also pose challenges when attempting to secure employment. Most employers run background checks on applicants. In some cases, a DWI will automatically exclude you from employment, while for other employers, it will simply decrease your chances of securing employment.
A DWI conviction can also affect your current employment situation in some cases. If you work in a field that requires special licenses or security clearances, a DWI conviction could result in your dismissal.
A DWI can have the same sort of effect on your education as it does on employment. You will be far less likely to be admitted to a higher education institution if you have a DWI conviction on your record.
If you are already enrolled, a DWI could result in disciplinary action, including expulsion from the college or university you attend.
Consequences for Refusing to Submit to Chemical Testing
In New York, it is unlawful to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical testing when suspected of DWI. Consequences for a refusal can include additional fines and immediate suspension of your license.
Defending Against a DWI Charge
There are a variety of defenses that can be employed to fight a DWI charge. When you hire an experienced DWI attorney in Syracuse, they will review your case to determine the best defense for your situation.
One defense that can be very effective is to argue that the results of the chemical testing are inaccurate. Chemical testing has been proven to often be unreliable. Issues with equipment malfunction and human error commonly lead to false results from chemical testing.
Another common defense is to argue that law enforcement violated your rights. If the police failed to follow procedure at any point in your case, the results could be significant. In some situations, a violation could result in certain evidence being dismissed, while in extreme cases, a judge may throw your case out altogether.
How Plea Bargaining Can Help You Get a Better Deal
While the ideal outcome will always be to beat the charges you face, depending on the evidence against you, this result might be unrealistic. In these cases, the best outcome may come through a plea agreement.
An experienced Syracuse first-offense DWI lawyer can help you negotiate a favorable deal with the prosecution. A common plea deal in these cases is to agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge, such as reckless driving, in exchange for the DWI charge being dropped.
A deal like this would mean reduced fines, avoiding having an IID installed in your car, and potentially avoiding a license suspension.
Contact an Experienced First-Offense DWI Attorney Serving Syracuse Today
When facing a DWI charge, it is essential that you secure experienced legal counsel. You should remember that even attorneys tend to hire other attorneys when fighting their own legal battles. At DWI Tom, we know the challenges you face and will do all we can to help you beat a conviction or at least avoid the worst consequences.
Reach out to us today by completing our online contact form, using the chat tool on this page, or giving us a call and schedule your free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.