If you’re charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New York State it is always in your best interest to fight the charge. You face the loss of your ability to drive, a criminal conviction, possible jail and/or probation, heavy fines and dramatically increased auto insurance premiums.
If you are represented by a competent DWI Attorney it is likely that the Prosecutor will eventually make a Plea offer, also known as a resolution. In the United States, 95% of all criminal matters end in a Plea Bargain. This is because a plea is often a more favorable and a less expensive alternative compared to taking the matter to trial. Usually, the District Attorney’s plea offer involves the Defendant pleading guilty to a lesser charge, or the original charge with a lesser sentence or, both.
There is no standard answer when advising a client whether to accept a plea or take the matter to trial. This is because every incident is unique with its own set of facts and issues making the decision easier for some and more difficult for others. Generally, a plea bargain is a good alternative when the Prosecutor has a solid case and the chances of prevailing at trial are slim. A major consideration is whether the Peoples offer takes the matter out of the Criminal Conviction genre. That is, a plea to a reduced charge, from a Misdemeanor DWI to a Violation DWAI. While DWAI 1192.1 is an alcohol conviction, because it is a “violation” it is not a crime, and therefore pleading guilty to DWAI does not result in a criminal conviction.
It is important to note that the District Attorney is limited by policy and in some instances by law, on the type of plea they are permitted offer and the final approval on a plea offer rest entirely with the Judge.
If for example, you are charged with a NYS DWI VTL 1192.2, a DWAI/Drug VTL 1192.4 or, DWAI/Combined-Influence VTL 1192.4a and you are offered a plea to a reduced charge, usually it will not be below the DWAI VTL 1192.1 (a violation) but even this scenario has many considerations. Such as, is this the Defendant’s first DWI arrest? Was the Defendant’s BAC level below .14? Was there an accident? Was there a physical injury? Did the Defendant cooperate with law enforcement?
New York State law does give the District Attorney some discretion for offering a reduced plea if there is a problem with the Peoples case. Such as issues concerning: the initial stop by the police, the arrest procedures, the police paperwork, lost evidence, a speedy trial issue or, any other problem. The only way any of these issues are exposed is by having an experienced DWI lawyer investigate the facts and serve timely discovery demands and motions on the District Attorney. Once faced with the weakness in their case, the District Attorney is then more likely to explore a favorable plea offer.
Not every person charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) is guilty. Not every roadside stop is legal, and not every Police Officer makes the perfect arrest. If there are issues in your case you need good legal representation to exploit them to your advantage and get you the best possible result. Call my Office today and schedule a free confidential consultation.