WHEN YOU GET CHARGED WITH A DWI IN UPSTATE NY
When charged with DWI, driving while intoxicated, there are a some key things to keep in mind. The first is cooperation. More often than not, individuals who are pulled over and asked if they have been drinking are not so quick to be honest with the police. The more cooperative you are, the less likely a threat you will impose on the officer this will ultimately be to your benefit in the long run.
When asked to submit to a breathalyzer test, some people feel that by refusing, the officer can’t technically show that your blood alcohol content level was above the legal limit, which in New York state is .08 percent. However, if one refuses a breathalyzer, the officer can issue a ticket with a charge of DWI based on his or her personal and professional opinion and observation. This is why most often there are two charges of DWI on the ticket. One is based on the breathalyzer reading and the other is what the officer observed through his or her course of duty. Basically this is done in case the breathalyzer test becomes inadmissible. Think of it as the officer’s “fail safe.”
Once charged with DWI, most people, understandably so, are quite upset. The best thing to do is go into “cooperation mode” and seek out professional help in the form of an attorney who routinely practices in this area of law. Typically, if this is a person’s first offence in terms of DWI, their attorney can enter negotiations with the District Attorney’s office to reduce the charge to a DWAI, driving while ability impaired. After pleading to this reduced charge, the defendant will typically receive a 90 suspension of their driver’s license. The court will immediately issue a 20 day temporary license, which will enable the defendant time to go to the DMV and apply for a conditional driver’s license. This will allow one to drive to a limited amount of places of necessity, such as work, the grocery store, church, etc.
The District Attorney’s office will also often require the defendant to take a number of prevention courses such as a VIP, victim impact panel and DDP, drinking and driving program. These courses are offered in every county throughout the state. A plea to DWAI is usually conditional upon completion of said programs. All of these steps can become a bit overwhelming so be sure to ask your attorney for guidance. A good DWI lawyer will take the time to slowly walk his client through all necessary steps and procedure.
Some counties in New York also require the defendant to under a drug and alcohol evaluation prior to accepting a finalized plea, or it may be a condition of the overall plea to DWAI. Again, cooperation is key. Do not try to “fight city hall” as the saying goes. The more cooperative a person is in completing the required courses, programs, and evaluations, they better off they will be in terms of a swift and sufficient resolution.
(Picture Credit: http://www.dp-law.us)