It can be stressful to be charged with a DWI in Westchester County or elsewhere in New York State. There are many drivers and also DWI defense attorneys who quickly accept the first plea bargain that is offered, but this is often not the right decision. At the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel, we pride ourselves on being aggressive Westchester County DWI attorneys who look at all of the evidence to determine the full scope of the legal options for our clients. In some cases, this means a plea bargain, but in others, it makes more sense to go to trial. Our firm fights each case as if it will proceed to trial, and strives to obtain the outcome that has the least impact on his or her life. We have litigated cases in state and federal courts in New York since 1986.
The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law provides that if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between 0.05 and 0.07 percent, you can be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired. This is not a criminal charge but is a traffic violation that can have serious consequences for your driver's license. Sometimes, it is possible to plead to this reduced charge rather than plead guilty to a DWI. However, if you plead guilty to a DWAI, you lose any eligibility to plead to this reduced charge in the future if you are again charged with a DWI. In other words, a DWAI can be a one-time opportunity to get a DWI charge reduced, but if it is the initial charge that you face, there are many reasons to fight it, despite the fact that it is a non-criminal charge. you may be better off fighting it. It is important to obtain guidance and representation from an experienced White Plains DWI lawyer who has handled many of these cases.
Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in New York. In most cases, a first-time DWI is a misdemeanor, but certain circumstances can elevate the DWI to a felony charge. If you are convicted of a first-time DWI misdemeanor, you will face fines, and your license will be revoked for a minimum of six months. You may be able to get a conditional license under certain circumstances. You will also need to install an ignition interlock device for six months to one year. Jail time is a possibility, but in most cases, only in situations involving serious personal injury or a previous DWI charge in addition to the present charges. Once you have a conviction for a DWI, moreover, the penalties will be harsher for subsequent convictions. It is important to hire an experienced DWI lawyer in to minimize the impact on your driving privileges, finances, and the criminal implications.Felony DWI
Under certain circumstances, you can be charged with a felony DWI. If you are convicted of two DWIs or two DWAIs, or one DWI and one DWAI in the past 10 years, and you are charged with another DWI or DWAI, you face the possibility of a felony conviction. A third offense DWI can be charged as a Class D felony, and a judge can sentence you to a maximum of seven years in prison. If you have two prior DWI convictions in the last five years, the judge must sentence you to at least 10 days in jail or 60 days of community service. You can also be charged with a felony DWI if there was a child under the age of 16 when you were pulled over for a DWI. A Class C, D, or E felony may be charged for vehicular assault in situations in which your drunk driving caused serious physical injuries.DWI Refusal
The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law provides that if you operate a car or other motor vehicle in New York State, you have automatically consented to a chemical test of your breath, urine, saliva, or blood if you are stopped for a traffic violation in situations in which an officer reasonably believes that you were driving while impaired. If you refuse to undergo a chemical test when pulled over, you will be charged with a refusal. Refusals are not criminal charges, and are instead an administrative violation handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles rather than the criminal courts, but they can still have important consequences and should be addressed with the assistance of an experienced White Plains DWI attorney. You may simultaneously face criminal charges for a DWI. The hearing is within 10 days of your arrest for a DWI. At the hearing, you have an opportunity to provide evidence and testimony about the circumstances giving rise to your alleged refusal. It is vital to retain an attorney with the necessary experience and knowledge to cross-examine the arresting officer on the basis for determining whether in fact the chemical test was refused. This also provides an opportunity to determine whether there was probable cause for the arrest, and an experienced DWI attorney in the White Plains area can investigate other factors that can help provide a strong defense in the related DWI case. If a refusal is proven at a refusal hearing, your license can be revoked, and you can be fined, even if you were not actually driving under the influence at the time that you were pulled over.
A refusal will be determined at an administrative hearing in front of a judge at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. If the judge finds that you refused a chemical test, you will likely face a one-year revocation of your driver's license, with the potential possibility of obtaining a conditional license to drive to and from work, school, to pick up children, and to obtain necessary medical treatment.Commercial Driver DWI
People who hold commercial driver's licenses face a threat to their livelihood if they are stopped for an alcohol-related charge either in a passenger vehicle or in a commercial vehicle. Even if you are convicted of or plead to only a DWAI, you can face a revocation of your commercial driver's license. Clearly, this can seriously jeopardize your employment. If you refuse to take a chemical test when you are pulled over, you can face a minimum 18-month revocation of your commercial driver's license, even if it is your first refusal, as well as a civil penalty.Traffic Tickets
Traffic tickets can have a larger impact than you may realize. They can adversely affect both your driving privileges and your insurance rates. Points are assessed for each violation, and after you receive a certain number of points, your license can be suspended or revoked. For example, you can receive five points on your license for operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone without a hands-free device. You can receive three points for failing to move over one lane (if it is safe to make this lane change) when you observe an emergency vehicle with red or white lights displayed. Our firm handles the defense of all types of traffic infractions, including traffic charges which can be charged as crimes such as reckless driving.Hire a Knowledgeable DWI Attorney in the White Plains Area
There can be serious consequences for a DWI, DWAID, felony DWI, and a refusal to take a chemical test, and for commercial drivers, these charges can be particularly devastating on their ability to earn a living. If you are charged with a DWI or a related charge in Westchester County, all counties in the lower Hudson Valley, or in the five boroughs of New York City, contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark A. Siesel. We also represent clients in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as in Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Rockland, and Nassau Counties. Call us at 914-224-3086 or complete our online form for a consultation to discuss your legal options in greater detail with an experienced attorney.
White Plains DWI Lawyer | Westchester County Drunk Driving Attorney | Mark A. Siesel