New York Misdemeanor DWI

Persons accused with DWI are usually charged with two different types of DWI – each of which is a misdemeanor, if you have no DWI convictions within the previous 10 years.

The first type of DWI alleges a person has a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater. In a general sense, this charge simply means a person operated or intended to operate a motor vehicle on a public road and was administered a chemical blood or breath test which indicated that individual had a BAC of .08 or greater. Should the chemical blood or breath test show that person had a BAC of .18 or greater, then the individual most likely will also be charged with Aggravated DWI.

The second typical DWI charge is generally referred to as a “Common Law” DWI. Simply put, this type of DWI attempts to prove intoxication based on the totality of the circumstances. Evidence often used in support of this charge, includes: physical condition and appearance, balance and coordination, manner of speech, presence of an odor of alcohol, manner in which the vehicle was operated, opinion testimony from police officers and other relevant witnesses regarding sobriety, the circumstances of any accident, and/or the results of any chemical blood or breath test.

Each of these charges are misdemeanors, assuming that you have not been convicted of a DWI within the previous 10 years, and include sentences which can consist of the installation of an ignition interlock device, a 6 month license revocation, a fine between $500 and $1,000, a court mandated surcharge, a 3 year term of probation and/or up to 1 year in jail.

District Attorney’s Offices throughout New York State have established strict policies which can significantly limit the reduction of such charges despite consequences like the loss of a defendant’s job. Although driving while intoxicated is dangerous, these policies often fail to take into account that individuals charged with DWI’s often are good people who made a mistake.

Because prosecutors are reluctant to offer reductions, it is important to have counsel who is well versed in DWI defense. Knowledge of DWI laws and trial practice provides a lawyer with the necessary tools to effectively negotiate with prosecutors and, when necessary, represent clients at trial.

If you have been charged with a Misdemeanor DWI in New York State, contact us for a FREE case consultation.