The DWAIwill follow you to CA and count as a priorable offense for 10 years. You must also comply with the DMV in NY and CA to keep your driving privleges.
ANDREW ROBERTS CRIMINAL AND TRAFFIC TICKET DEFENSE ATTORNEY
Mr. Roberts' answer is correct. However, your New York attorney may be able to discuss with you your options for expungement (although the case information is forever), which may ease some of your concerns about the collateral effects on your employment.
A criminal conviction will stay on your record forever and will be priorable as a DUI for 10 years in California. If you want to remain conviction free, you'll have to fight this matter at trial. Whether it is worth it to you or not to remain conviction free is a personal decision that will relate to your particular job situation. If you're a commercial driver, this would be terrible. If you own your own business - depending on the business - this may have little to no effect on you. Certain jobs would treat a DUI conviction seriously, while other jobs will ignore it entirely. Your auto insurance rates could also increase. Talk this over with your attorney and make a decision that considers all of these and other factors.
First and foremost, you should speak to your current attorney in New York to see how this could affect you. I am NOT a NY attorney and not familiar with NY law. I am a California DUI attorney (and familiar with CA DUI Law). This answer is NOT legal advice as I am basing the following on a quick search of NY law in order to help you come up with some questions to ask your NY attorney handling your case. That being said, based on my quick search regarding DWAI, I think a DWAI in New York is an infraction, not a misdemeanor or felony (unlike a straight DWI). So a plea to that May not have the same effects as a plea to a DWI. I can not stress enough, you should discuss your question with your attorney in New York who should be familiar with NY DWAI laws and how they can affect you moving forward, whether they are priorable for DWI purposes, etc.
Generally speaking a DUI or similar conviction in another state will be priorable in CA for 10 years. Sometimes it is possible to "strike" the prior, making it non-priorable. I am unsure if a NY DWAI would have a good shot of being stricken should you pick up a new DUI in California. This is something I would research if I were retained to handle someone's CA DUI, and they had an out of state prior. You should ask your NY attorney about that as well.
I hope the above is helpful in getting you some ideas of questions to ask your NY Attorney so you can make a more informed decision if entering a plea to the DWAI is in your best interests or not. Good luck with everything.
Legal disclaimer: This message does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. This message does not establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established once a retainer agreement has been fully executed between you and this firm.