NEW YORK STATE LAWYER
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DEFENSE LAWYER FIGHTING DWI, CRIMINAL CHARGES, SPEEDING TICKETS AND OTHER TRAFFIC OFFENSES IN NEW YORK SINCE 1990!
Statutorily, a DWI is aggravated if the blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.18% or greater. It’s still a misdemeanor (if there isn't a prior conviction for DWI within ten years), but it signifies a higher degree of offense and there are correspondingly higher penalties.
In terms of prosecutorial policy, another aggravating factor is whether or not there was a motor vehicle accident. Often, there's a single car accident where the motorist is alone in their vehicle and they go off the road, striking a post, a wall, or just getting stuck in a ditch or snow bank. Then there are accidents that involve another vehicle and they can be aggravated even further where there are personal injuries involved.
A BAC of 0.14 and above or any other aggravating factor, including a prior arrest for DWI, may become a barrier to a reduced offer by the prosecution. An unlicensed operator charge in Westchester County in conjunction with a DWI is also considered an aggravating factor. In these circumstances, they often take plea bargain offers off the table – that is, unless some mitigating factor is discovered or otherwise presents during the pretrial process.
What Are The Penalties Associated With A First Time DWI Conviction In New York?
For a first time offender, the distinction between DWI and DWAI becomes paramount because if you can get the DWI charge reduced to a DWAI – it is a violation with lesser penalties and not a crime. That is, your arrest record will still be free of any criminal conviction for the offense. If you are convicted of a DWAI, you will be able to honestly state that you have never been convicted of a crime. It’s an extremely important factor to consider.
Technically, the distinction between a violation and a crime is defined by the penalty. A violation is punishable by only up to 15 days in jail while a misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail. A felony is a crime punishable by more than a year of incarceration. It would be very rare for someone to actually be sentenced to the 15 days in jail on a DWAI because if there was some basis to do that, they wouldn't be getting the benefit of the reduced offer in the first place.
A DWAI carries a 90 day suspension. A DWI carries a six month minimum revocation. A lot of problems can ensue with a revocation. If it’s a suspension, the motorist is simply required to go to any DMV office after the expiration of their period of suspension. The DMV will check to confirm the 90 days have passed and that they’ve taken any classes that are required. The motorist simply pays a suspension lift fee of about $75 and the suspension is immediately lifted and their full driving privileges are restored on the spot.
In contrast, if they're revoked with a DWI, it's a six month revocation at minimum, meaning the DMV retains the right to prolong it past the six months based on the motorist’s driving history (but usually do not.) In most cases of a first offense DWI, the revocation period actually could be a little less according to DMV if the motorist completes their required courses early and the conditions of their sentence.
Reinstating one’s driving privileges after a revocation requires a reapplication to the DMV because your privilege to drive has been revoked and not merely suspended. You should reapply about two months since the application goes to the DMV in Albany and sits there for a month or two before being actually processed. The fines range is also higher. The fines for a DWAI are $300 with a $260 surcharge. The fines for a DWI are between $500 and $1000 with a $400 surcharge. You also have to take the impaired driver program with either offense involving alcohol if you want to apply for a conditional license during the period of suspension or revocation which will allow the motorist some degree of restricted driving.
For more information on Aggravated DWI & DWAI Charges In NY, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (914) 666-8137 today.