Facing a criminal conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be incredibly scary for anyone, and it is natural to wonder what your best available defenses are in this difficult situation. It’s vital to not only know your rights that come into play in such a case but also how to manage the difficult criminal court proceedings ahead of you. While your situation might seem desperate or even hopeless, it is vital to know the criminal court procedures that apply to your case and how an experienced defense attorney can help you.
The Vitaliano Law Firm has years of professional experience providing criminal defense representation, and the most common questions we hear from clients regarding their DWI cases involve how they can avoid conviction or reduce their penalties. Depending on the nature of your DWI offense, the police department’s handling of your case, and whether you inflicted any harm on anyone, you could have more defenses available to you than you initially realize.
The entire criminal justice system of the United States hinges on the basic concept of the presumption of innocence. This means that when a defendant is charged with a crime, the court presumes the defendant is innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution holds the burden of proving their guilt, and this is more complex than many defendants may realize.
Prosecutors rely heavily on the initial police reports and arrest records in the criminal cases they prosecute, which is why it is so important to take full advantage of your right to remain silent once you are placed under arrest. Saying anything, even if you know you did not commit a DWI offense, will only work against you. If you say the wrong thing and it’s included in the arrest record, the prosecution could later take your statement and present it in the most damning light possible.
Saying nothing, while some people mistakenly assume this to be a tacit admission of guilt, is one of the best things you can do to have your DWI case dropped if this is an option at all in your case. Exercising your right to remain silent will not provide the prosecution with any additional ammunition to aid them in their pursuit of establishing your guilt, and it will make it more difficult for them to secure evidence and testimony that ensures no reasonable doubt regarding their guilt.
Your situation may feel hopeless, but the average person with little to no formal legal experience may overlook crucial avenues of defense an experienced defense attorney would immediately recognize. After an arrest, you have not only the right to remain silent but also the right to legal counsel, and securing defense representation you can trust is one of the best ways to minimize your chance of being convicted.
The Vitaliano Law Firm will help our clients uncover all available evidence and present compelling testimony that could help them avoid conviction. Our firm develops individualized defense strategies for each client, taking time to address their unique needs and concerns. We have helped many past clients avoid conviction for DWI and can put this experience to work in your case.
A: A first-time standard DWI conviction in New York can lead to various penalties. State law typically assigns a fine of up to $1,000, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and up to one year in county jail. However, the judge handling sentencing has relatively flexible discretionary power to adjust a defendant’s sentence to reflect their interpretation of the situation. For example, if the driver has no criminal record and did not injure anyone, the judge may consider leniency and issue probation in lieu of jail time. Incarceration is more likely for a felony-level DWI conviction, conviction of a second or third DWI, or committing a DWI resulting in injury or death.
A: Whenever a driver commits a moving violation or traffic offense of any kind, and the police conduct a traffic stop, the driver will receive demerit points on their license in proportion to the severity of the offense. These points will drop off of the driver’s record 18 months after the date of the violation. However, if the driver accumulates a total of 11 demerit points, their license is suspended. The state does not issue demerit points for DWI because the offense leads to an automatic license suspension.
A: To secure a conviction for any criminal offense, prosecutors must prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Police and prosecutors must also follow due process at all times in handling these cases and respect the defendant’s civil and constitutional rights. It is possible to have your DWI case dropped if your defense attorney can prove you were wrongfully arrested or demonstrate how the police mishandled your case.
A: If you are charged with DWI, you face more than just the penalties assigned by the court. You could also face a wide range of consequences in your personal life as well as disruptions to your professional career. For example, a DWI conviction could lead to you losing any professional licenses you previously held as well as membership in any professional organizations to which you belong. Hiring the right defense attorney is the best way to prevent the host of problems your DWI conviction record might cause.
The right criminal defense attorney can be an invaluable source of guidance and support when you are unsure how to defend yourself against a DWI charge. It’s best to speak with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest, so contact The Vitaliano Law Firm today if you are ready to discuss your defense options with a legal team you can trust.