I am a 21 year old college student, i was arrested for aggravated driving while intoxicated in westchester county NY, can I plead the charges down to a driving while under the influence?
There is no such thing as "Driving Under the Influence" in New York State. Unless there exist factors that would justify having the charges against you dismissed (which factors may exist and should be investigated), the best possible plea bargain allowable under New York State Law would most likely be "Driving While Ability Impaired By Alcohol" (DWAI), which is a violation (whereas, Aggravated DWI is a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the particular circumstances under which you were charged). However, with a charge of "AGGRAVATED" DWI, such a plea bargain may be very difficult to achieve. This, again, depends on a number of factors including the circumstances under which you were stopped, whether an accident was involved, whether injuries were involved, your past driving record, etc. If you are in fact charged with New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1192-2a(a) "Aggravated DWI", then, if you were convicted of that charge, you would be facing a fine of anywhere between $1,000 and $2,500, plus a state surcharge of either $395 or $400, plus a DMV fine known as a "Driver Responsibility Assessment" of $250 per year, for three years, plus a revocation of your driver's license for at least one year, the possibility of being sentenced to a period of probation, requiring that you pay for the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, and even the possibility of a jail sentence of up to one year, plus other possible requirements. By contrast, if you were offered a plea bargain of section 1192-1, DWAI, which is NOT a crime, but rather is a violation, and you accepted that offer and were convicted of DWAI, you would be facing a fine of anywhere between $300 and $500, plus a state surcharge of either $255 or $260, the same $250 per year for three years Driver Responsibility Assessment, a suspension (not a revocation) of your Driver's License for 90 days (assuming that you are, in fact, at least 21 years old, and you have no prior conviction for a drinking related offense), less likelihood of probation/jail sentence, with maximum jail sentence being 15 days if this is your first drinking related offense, plus other likely requirements, such as a Drinking Driver Program, a Vicitm Impact Panel, and an Alcohol Evaluation (all of which you must pay for, but all of which, when accomplished in addition to the factors noted above, satisfy most Courts' requirements for such a plea bargain). Again, such a comparatively favorable disposition of DWAI may be very difficult to come by with an original charge of Aggravated DWI. A possibly more likely plea offer would be a plea to DWI (just DWI...not Aggravated DWI), which is a misdemeanor and carries somewhat stiffer penalties than DWAI, but less severe that Aggravated DWI. Of course, all of the above is subject to change depending upon what else you were charged with, whether you've had previous drinking related offenses or other traffic offenses, the specific circumstances under which you were stopped, whether an accident was involved, whether injuries were involved, whether there exist factors that might warrant a dismissal of your current charges, etc. As such, I would strongly suggest that you speak with an attorney about this matter and let him or her identify your options for you depending on the specific circumstances of your case. What I've provided above is simply a general framework. Good luck to you. -Matthew J. Werblin, Esq. (518) 369-7580
I think you mean, can the charge be reduced to driving while ability impaired (VTL 1192(1)), a traffic infraction not a crime. With this high a reading, generally not. However, if your attorney can convince the court that there are some serious problems with the case e.g., operation (where keys in ignition/engine running), or that your acid reflux (GERD) produced alcohol from your stomach which resulted in a falsely high reading, its possible they may make an exception.
I would strongly advise you to hire an experienced criminal attorney in advance of your arraignment date. A conviction for DWI will result in a permanent criminal record and some serious direct and collateral consequences. Its best to get out in front of this now.
It depends on your circumstances, i.e. how high your BAC is and whether there are valid reasons to question the stop, the breathalyzer or the field sobriety test. Contact a lawyer in your area to discuss the particulars. There are instances when a DAs office would be willing to reduce an aggravated DWI to a DWAI as stated by the prior posters (even if it was against their policies).
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