Have you been charged with a DWI in New York City?
If you have been charged with a DWI in Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, or any where else in the greater NYC area call us 212-682-0700 immediately to discuss your case. We offer a free consultation and have extensive experience in all types of DWI cases.
Attorneys regularly work with clients charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence and the penalties can be severe. Prosecutors believe that harsh punishments will have a strong deterrent effect on drunk driving in the state of New York and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of that punishment. Both your life and your driving record will be affected. Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense attorney with a record of defending DUI and DWI clients is only a phone call away.
There is no “one size fits all” approach to a DUI case. An experienced DUI attorney will explain your rights to you, investigate the facts and circumstances of your case, and determine a legal strategy to best fit your situation.
What is the difference between a DUI and a DWI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a general term used to describe the crime of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair your ability to operate the vehicle. Specifically, New York State uses various terms to describe driving under the influence. These crimes are broken down based n your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest. They are:
- driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- driving while ability impaired (DWAI)
- aggravated DWI
Each of these crimes accounts for various levels of impairment with DWAI being the least serious and aggravated DWI being the most serious.
- Driving While Intoxicated: you may be criminally liable for this crime if your BAC is .08 or higher. DWI may also be established if the police and prosecutor can prove through other circumstances that you were impaired at the time of arrest. This may include witness testimony and other evidence that you were under the influence at the time. Hence, there are two ways that the prosecution can win their case: by proving that you had a BAC of .08 or higher, or by proving by other circumstances that you were drunk (slurred speech, confusion, the smell of alcohol on your breath or clothes, etc.). If you have never been convicted of DWI in the past, your first DWI will be charged as a misdemeanor. A second DWI within 10 years will be treated more harshly and charged as a felony.
- Driving While Ability Impaired: Generally, charges of driving while your ability is impaired may be levied against you if you are stopped by a police officer and are found to have a BAC of .05 – .08. As this is the least serious form of DUI crime it will only be treated as a violation. Of course, multiple convictions for the same crime will make each successive incident be treated more harshly. A second or third DWAI may be treated as a misdemeanor. The major factor to be considered in these types of cases is the BAC. Because there is a range of BACs to which a DWAI crime may be attached, the prosecutor will handle each level differently. For example, it is easier to get a DWAI dismissed if your BAC was .05 that it will be if your BAC is .07. In any event the prosecutor will have to prove to the jury that you were impaired and we will work hard to refute their evidence.
- Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated: This is the most serious form of a DUI crime and it implies that you were VERY impaired at the time. Aggravated DUI may result if your BAC was .18 or higher at the time of arrest. The most difficult aspect of this crime is the fact that even if your attorney can get the charges reduced, it will likely only be reduced to a regular DWI which is a misdemeanor. Thus, even if your attorney is successful in reducing the charges, you will in all likelihood end up with a criminal record. Aggravated DWI is a very serious crime and you need an experienced attorney assisting you right away.
What types of penalties are there for the various DUI crimes?
Penalties for a DUI related crime can vary greatly and they are designed to deter initial and future incidents of driving under the influence. In any event, the potential punishment will affect all aspects of your life for many years to come.
- Criminal charges. In most cases a DWAI only results in a violation while DWI and aggravated DWI punishments can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. Repeated incidents of any of these crimes will lead to successively harsher punishments.
- Jail time. A DUI conviction can come with jail time lasting anywhere up to a year for a first offense to seven years or more for a third conviction. A strong legal defense can help you minimize or avoid spending time behind bars.
- Fines. Even if your attorney is able to avoid jail time for you, if convicted you will definitely have to pay fines and potentially restitution if anybody else was injured in the incident. The fines can range from $500.00 to $10,000.00 or more if there is criminal restitution.
- Loss of your license. You can potentially lose your license for 90 days to more than a year. We are all dependent on our cars and the loss of your license can affect all aspects of your life including your ability to get to work and travel with your family.
- Increased insurance premiums. If you’re convicted of a DUI crime, there is a very strong likelihood that your insurance premiums will go up substantially. There is a small chance that your insurance company may not learn of your conviction and raise your rates, but there is no reason to assume that risk.
What are My Rights Regarding DWI Charges?
- You have the right to an attorney immediately after being arrested for drunk driving. Your right to a defense lawyer begins as soon as you’re stopped for drunk driving, not just in court.
- You are not legally required to speak to the police. Don’t tell them anything without talking to an experienced criminal attorney first!
- It is not necessary for you to comply with field sobriety tests. You are entitled to an independent blood or breath analysis.
Call George Vomvolakis for a free DUI consultation today!
George Vomvolakis has successfully defended many clients charged with varying degrees of DUI crimes. He is caring and compassionate and knows how to vindicate your rights.