Written by attorney Jonathan Brian Manley

Suffolk County First Time DWI Plea Bargaining Policy

If this is your first Driving While Intoxicated charge, you certainly have many questions and concerns. You should contact an experienced Suffolk County Criminal Defense/ DWI attorney as soon as possible to have your specific questions answered. Here is a brief overview of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office DWI Plea Bargain Policy and the consequences of a guilty plea.

In Suffolk County, DWI cases are handled in two separate categories- those who consent to a chemical test and those who refuse a chemical test.

Consenting to a chemical test means you have taken a blood or breath test. Typically, Suffolk County relies on the breath test unless there were children in the vehicle or there was an accident with serious injury/ death, at which point a blood test would be requested.

If you have a blood alcohol content over a .08, your license will be suspended at your arraignment. On your next court date, your attorney will be able to apply for a hardship license so you can drive to and from work and doctor visits. It is important you have secured a criminal/ DWI defense attorney to accomplish this.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office First Time DWI Plea Bargaining Policy is as follows:

BAC- .08-.12- The District Attorney's Office will allow for a reduced plea to a Driving While Impaired by Alcohol charge. DWAI is not a crime, it is a traffic violation. It is accompanied by a 90 day suspension of your license and a $500 fine. Typically, an individual is required to complete community service before the charge is reduced.

BAC- .13 or higher- The District Attorney's Office mandates a plea to a misdemeanor DWI at this point. The sentence can range from a conditional discharge to probation to jail. If you plead guilty to a misdemeanor DWI, it is a crime and a minimum six month license revocation and ignition interlock is mandatory.

This policy is not guaranteed on every case. There are many factors the Suffolk County DA's Office looks at and many aggravating factors which could effect the policy listed above. These factors include any prior criminal record, prior driving record, reckless or erratic driving and whether there was any motor vehicle accident. In order to ensure you receive the best possible disposition to your case, you need an experienced criminal defense/ DWI attorney to fight for you.

If you refused to take a chemical test, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office does not negotiate a reduced plea to a Driving While Impaired by alcohol. They mandate a plea to a misdemeanor DWI guilty with a typical sentence of probation depending on any aggravating factors. These cases are most often litigated through pre-trial hearings and trials. That is the most effective way to obtain a reduced plea or an acquittal/ dismissal of a refusal DWI.

In addition, DMV will issue a one year mandatory license revocation for the refusal alone. Prior to this, a hearing is held at DMV where your attorney can question the arresting officer and present evidence on your behalf. It is advisable you have an attorney representing you for this hearing.

There are many factors that enter into a DWI defense in Suffolk County. Contact an experienced Suffolk County DWI attorney to determine whether you should plea bargain your case or take it to trial.

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