Long story short, fell asleep behind the wheel while intoxicated and rear ended a parked car. I blew a .18 in the precinct. I was released to probation and have my first court date on March 6th. I have a clean record. What is my best case scenario?
The DA will not offer any type of plea bargain and will likely look for some jail time. Best case scenario is to get the case dismissed. Short of that the best case scenario is no probation no jail just ignition interlock and fines. The next best case would be straight probation with no jail.
You already have answers from four good New York lawyers. I join them, as someone you CANNOT hire for this, in saying you need a lawyer, now.
Often people think that because it isn’t a murder case, a drunk driving case is simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases can be among the most complex a criminal defense lawyer handles. The government is willing to spend an incredible amount of money to convict you though. They will have expert witnesses available for consultation and trial.
That you have been charged or that some contraption says your alcohol level was at a certain level does not mean that you are guilty. It certainly does not mean that you can be proven guilty using competent, valid evidence.
Field sobriety “tests” are designed to give police a reason to arrest. You cannot “pass” them. The police will admit that almost a third of healthy young adults who take these tests without any alcohol will be judged to be “under the influence” – and that assumes they are properly administered!
After even a first drunk driving conviction, you may face employment discrimination. You will certainly be charged higher for insurance. Having such a conviction will also make you a target for drunk driving arrest in future interactions with police. You will automatically become a suspect.
You will want a lawyer who is familiar with field sobriety “tests,” perhaps one who is certified to administer these tests. You will want a lawyer familiar with the weaknesses of the contraptions that are used to report alcohol or drug levels. You want an experienced trial lawyer, used to cross-examining police officers. Police officers are practiced, experienced witnesses.
That is, you want an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, whether you call the offense DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI, or drugged driving.
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The DA is not likely to make any offers with this type of fact pattern because of the blow and the accident. So best case scenario if you take a plea to the top count is a conditional discharge with DWI conditions (ignition interlock, possibly drinker drivers program and victim impact panel) and court fees, though you're more likely to receive a sentence of probation with DWI conditions and court fees. If you go to trial and win at trial of course the charge(s) would be dismissed. You should certainly contact an attorney for a consultation as soon as possible.
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