A family friend is a CO in town, and called in a favor to reduce the charge to a "Common Law" DWI. I am wondering if I should accept this deal (which means no jail time, but still remains the fine, misdemeanor, and being reduced to a conditional license for 6 months, and installation of ignition interlock in my car), or if I should hire an attorney to try to get it reduced further.
I have no criminal record and no moving violations on my vehicle - this is the first legal trouble I have ever been in. I know I made a huge mistake and I know I have to pay for it, but I'm afraid of carrying this for the rest of my life and never being able to live my life the same again. I am only 26 years old and was planning on a career change soon.
You need to get an attorney. This was not a big favor by the CO. Any good attorney could have done that.
Joseph A. Lo Piccolo, Esq.
Past President, Criminal Courts Bar Association
Hession Bekoff & Lo Piccolo
1103 Stewart Ave, Suite 200
Garden City, NY 11530
516-408-3666 (o) / 516-408-3833 (f)
Ay .20 you were charged with Aggravated DWI (BAC of .18 or higher). The common law DWI is the same level of offense (misdemeanor but the penalties (fines, license implications) are less.
Speak with an experienced DWI defense attorney in your area who can tell you how this offer compares with common practice in that court.
You are charged with aggravated DWI. This is a very serious charge. There is no such thing as a correction's officer " calling in a favor." This isn't the 1970's or a third world country. 'This guy who knows that guy' or "My Cousin Vinny" can't help you. You have been formally charged with a serious crime on the record and the judge or the district attorney is not going to give your case a 'wink and a nod' because you know 'Joe the jail guard.' You need legal help in the form of a licensed attorney at law. Hire one ASAP.
By statute an aggravated DWI (VTL 1192.2(a)) cannot be plead to anything less than a DWI (common law or per se). This is a pretty standard offer on an aggravated. You need a DWI attorney. Look for someone who has tried DWI's in the jurisdiction you are in. Preferably someone who has cross examined expert witnesses. Don't be afraid to ask them these questions. DWI is a very specialized area of criminal law and so it is important - no matter how experienced the attorney is- that he or she have DWI experience.
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