Aggravated DWI in New York State
Late in 2006, New York State passed a new law establishing an Aggravated DWI offense, which applies when the blood-alcohol content is found to be 0.18 or higher.
The “aggravated” offense carries stiffer penalties. The fines are higher, and the licensing consequences are more severe.
Prior results do not guarantee future results.
Perhaps the most significant impact of the new law concerns plea bargaining. It is quite common for an attorney to get a DWAI violation deal for someone charged with a DWI. DWI is a misdemeanor – a crime – while DWAI is only a violation, and is not considered a crime in New York. With the aggravated DWI charge, it is now much harder to get a plea deal to the DWAI violation. The only offer will be a reduction to the DWI misdemeanor, and thus a criminal record. Pursuant to a 2010 law, DWI misdemeanors now also require the ignition interlock device.
In Albany County, the District Attorney has a policy that dramatically limits plea bargaining for cases where the BAC is 0.20 or higher. The “offer” is to plead guilty with 3 years probation. A defendant in this situation has little to lose by fighting.
We generally believe it is wise to fight an Aggravated DWI charge initially, making motions and going through a suppression hearing. In most cases the plea bargain to the lesser DWI misdemeanor will still be available after the hearing (though there is certainly no guarantee of this, and for that matter, no guarantee of results at all). The police often make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes will be enough to win the case or persuade the prosecutor to agree to a better deal.
We handle DWI cases, including Aggravated DWI, in the Albany Schenectady Troy Saratoga area. Call us at 888-733-5299. A person answers our phone 24 hours a day.
We deal well with police and prosecutors in all the area courts. To learn more about DWI and what we can do for you, click on the links on the left side of the page.
The call is toll-free and there is no charge for the initial phone consultation.