What to expect in your Suffolk County, New York DWI case
Resource for individuals who are facing criminal prosecution for driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired by drugs in Suffolk County, New York
Arraignment and License IssuesAn arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or combination of both is daunting. You're treated the same as any criminal charge arrestee. Often, you are placed in handcuffs and booked at the local precinct or trooper barracks. You are then brought before a judge for an arraignment. At the arraignment a plea of not guilty is entered for you and the Court decides bail. The Court may also suspend your license for the pendency of the case if either a certified result of a chemical test showing higher than .08% of alcohol in your blood or a report of your refusal to submit to a chemical test is received by the time you are arraigned. If your license is suspended for the chemical test reading above .08%, you may be eligible for a hardship license for the pendency of the case. You may also then be eligible for a restricted use license from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If your license is suspended for a refusal to submit to a chemical test, you are ordinarily not eligible for a hardship or restricted use license but you are entitled to a refusal hearing at the DMV and if you prevail, your license will be reinstated.
Potential Plea Bargains in Your CaseAfter arraignment, your case will normally be scheduled for a conference on a future date before the judge who will preside. Often, your attorney will begin discussing potential plea bargain possibilities with the assigned prosecutor. You always have the right to a trial if you desire and your attorney will also begin the process of discovery which means demanding certain items of potential evidence from the prosecutor. If it is your first offense, a plea to a reduced charge may be offered. While this was common as recently as 5-10 years ago, today, it is much less common even for a first offense. There are guidelines that the Assistant District Attorney handling your case will have to follow. While there are many factors that are looked at, the most important are: Whether it's your first offense? Whether you refused the chemical test? If you took the chemical test, what was the reading and was there an accident or any sign of reckless driving? When a reduction is offered it will ordinarily be to the traffic violation of driving while ability impaired by alcohol which is a non-criminal offense. It is crucial that you hire a Suffolk County DWI Lawyer for your case. While the guidelines for plea bargaining are restrictive, a knowledgeable Suffolk County DWI Lawyer will give you the best chance for a non-criminal resolution.
Penalties for conviction for Driving While Impaired / IntoxicatedThe most important thing to remember is that any DWI or DWAI by drugs or combination is a crime and a conviction will bring a life-long criminal record. That is why a reduction to a driving while impaired by alcohol, only, is desirable because it means no criminal record. For a first offense misdemeanor conviction for DWI or DWAI by drugs or combination drugs and alcohol, the penalties include up to one-year in jail, fines, a license revocation for at least six-months and other remedial penalties such as the ignition interlock device and mandatory drunk driving classes through the DMV. You may be eligible for a restricted use license during any period of revocation or suspension. For the reduction to driving while impaired by alcohol the penalties are up to 15 days in jail, fines, and a ninety-day suspension of your driver's license (again you may be eligible for a restricted use license during this period of time). Having a lawyer that concentrates in Suffolk County DWI law is imperative to the best chance for a positive outcome. The laws in this area have become more severe and the plea bargaining guidelines more restrictive. Now, more than ever, the right DWI lawyer is necessary.
Remedial Steps You can Take to help obtain a favorable Disposition to Your Case.There are actions a defendant in a DWI or DWAI case can take to help his or her cause and obtain a more favorable case disposition. First and foremost, stay clean. You can not be arrested again while charges are open against you. If you are arrested, bail may be revoked and you can bet that the District Attorney will not see you in a very favorable light. You can also voluntarily undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation by a New York State Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor. This report will be private and is only released with your authorization. Getting this report done is important to the resolution process. While you are presumed innocent (and at times people arrested for DWI are) any potential plea bargain will have a better chance of success if the prosecutor sees that you are addressing any potential alcohol and drug abuse issues. Of course, if treatment is ultimately recommended after the evaluation, voluntarily enrolling in any recommended treatment will only be viewed as favorable. The thing to remember is that prosecutors are always more afraid of the future when they give reductions to people without having assurances that the defendant is on the right track. While it is rare, there are times that people who are given favorable treatment, are arrested in the future for similar conduct where there is an accident and injuries to innocent persons. This fear keeps prosecutor's awake at night and makes the job of getting a reduction of the charges that much harder. That is why you must show the prosecutor that you are serious about making sure that no incidents occur in the future. The best way to do this is to provide proof, for their file, of your efforts to voluntarily rehabilitate.