Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is illegal in New York and every other state in the country. A driver who operates their vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol puts themselves and others at risk, and an impaired driver is substantially more likely to cause a serious accident than a sober driver. It is possible for a driver to face a DWI charge even if they did not actually do anything wrong. If a police officer believes they have probable cause to conduct an arrest, this can feel incredibly unfair to a driver. However, fault is clearer in some cases than others, and some New York drivers commit severe violations of the state’s DWI laws.
An “aggravated” DWI is any DWI that exceeds the definition of a standard DWI offense. For example, state law dictates that if a driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .08%, this constitutes a DWI offense. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is .04%, and any detectable BAC can lead to a DWI charge for a driver under 21. If a driver’s BAC is over .18%, they will automatically qualify for prosecution for aggravated DWI in New York. It’s also possible for a driver to face an aggravated DWI charge if they caused a severe injury, death, or if they are currently on probation for a prior DWI conviction.
In every criminal case in New York, the penalties a defendant could face if convicted can fluctuate significantly based on the specific details of a case. Judges handling criminal sentencing throughout the boroughs of New York City have relatively broad discretion to adjust defendants’ sentences as they see fit after evaluating all the facts and evidence of the case. When it comes to the details of your DWI case, aggravating factors work against you while mitigating factors work in your favor.
When a judge identifies multiple aggravating factors in a criminal case, they are more likely to seek the maximum allowable penalties for the defendant. Aggravating factors include high BAC, causing serious injury or death, and violating probation for a prior DWI conviction. Mitigating factors encourage a judge to consider leniency. For example, if the defendant did not hurt anyone and shows clear signs of an advanced substance abuse disorder, the judge could recognize that they need treatment and counseling, not incarceration.
An experienced private defense attorney is the best asset to have on your side if you are charged with any level of DWI offense in New York. If you committed the offense, your attorney could potentially help you plea bargain down to a lighter sentence. If you did not, they would be essential for establishing an alibi and/or disproving the prosecution’s evidence. Ultimately, no two DWI cases are exactly alike, and it’s vital to find defense counsel from an attorney willing to provide individualized and responsive advice throughout all phases of your case.
The Vitaliano Law Firm has helped many defendants throughout New York City avoid conviction and reduce penalties for various DWI offenses. We know how local prosecutors handle these cases, the tactics they often use to secure convictions, and the common challenges defendants face in these cases. You’re likely to have lots of pressing legal questions after an arrest for aggravated DWI in New York. Remember to exercise your right to remain silent until you have the opportunity to exercise your right to legal counsel and connect with a defense attorney you can trust with your case.
A: Any driver tested who has a BAC of .18% or more automatically qualifies for an aggravated DWI charge. The minimum penalties for conviction include a fine between $1,000 and $2,500, up to a year of incarceration in county jail, and a one-year revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license. Penalties will increase automatically if the defendant has a prior DWI conviction within the past five years and/or if they hurt or killed anyone while driving while intoxicated.
A: Under New York law, a district attorney cannot reduce an aggravated DUI down to a regular DUI through plea bargaining. Judges handling sentencing in DWI cases have broad discretionary power to adjust a defendant’s sentence as they see fit. For the best chance of avoiding jail or at least minimizing your incarceration term, it’s vital to have an experienced defense attorney handling your case.
A: Some defendants, typically those who are charged with their first DWI offenses and have not harmed anyone through their actions, may qualify for reduced charges. A DWI that would qualify as a misdemeanor could potentially be reduced to the level of a driving while ability impaired (DWAI) violation. This type of offer won’t be offered to every defendant, and you will need an experienced DWI defense attorney to advise you as to the best attainable result to your case.
A: It is always worth hiring legal representation you can trust when you have been charged with any criminal offense. A public defender may be available free of charge, but these court-appointed defense attorneys must handle multiple cases at once and cannot offer their clients much individual attention. Investing in the services of an experienced private defense attorney can ensure a much higher level of defense representation in your case.
A: New York prosecutors take aggravated DWI cases very seriously. It would be very unlikely for any driver charged with aggravated DWI to have their case dismissed entirely unless clear violations of criminal justice procedure are confirmed to have occurred. If you believe your rights have been violated or that the charges against you are unfounded in any way, it is crucial to discuss your concerns with a defense attorney as soon as possible after the arrest.
The Vitaliano Law Firm can provide the criminal defense representation you need when you are charged with aggravated DWI or any other DWI offense in New York City. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and learn more about the legal services we provide.