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Thursday I was arrested at a traffic stop and charged with A-DWI in Yorkville, NY. I blew .20 at the police station.

Yorkville, NY |

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.

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Attorney answers 6


A DWI is a serious offense. You should have an attorney represent you on this.


A .20 is very high.
I would be careful about broadcasting that you called in a favor... someone can get in real trouble.
You should hire a criminal defense lawyer. I can't imagine a judge would let you plead guilty to a crime without a lawyer.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


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)

I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.


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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