When you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Rochester, NY, it is important to understand the criminal charges associated with drunk driving. Depending upon whether you are facing a first-time offense, whether you are facing aggravated DWI charges, and whether anyone was injured in an accident that resulted in your DWI charges, you could be facing felony charges.
We know that you may be wondering whether it is possible to have your DWI charges reduced, or whether it is possible to have the penalties reduced so that you do not have to face time in jail or lose your driver’s license. In short, many DWI cases are reduced or dismissed every year, and it is certainly possible to seek a dismissal of the charges against you, a reduction in the charges, or even entrance into a diversionary program. An aggressive Rochester DWI defense attorney can assess the facts of your case and help you to determine what your options might be. In the meantime, we want to provide you with information about some of the ways that you may be able to reduce DWI charges or penalties in Rochester, New York.
Beating or Dismissing the Charges DWI Charges You Are Facing
In many DWI cases, it is clear that the defendant’s rights have been violated in some capacity, or there is another clear defense strategy that can allow the defendant to beat those charges. If you think you have a clear defense to beat the DWI charges, it is extremely important to speak with a DWI defense lawyer in Rochester who can analyze the particular facts of your case. In some instances, for example, a driver’s Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure may have been violated. A law enforcement official may have stopped a driver without reasonable suspicion and may have taken a chemical sample without having probable cause to do so.
In other scenarios, you may have strong evidence that the blood sample you provided and that showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, was tainted. If the sample was clearly tainted and this is the most significant evidence against you, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed. Similarly, if you have proof that the breathalyzer machine that had a reading of a BAC of 0.08 or higher was faulty or defective, your Rochester, NY DWI defense attorney may be able to have the charges against you dismissed. It is always essential to build a defense strategy that could result in a dismissal of charges with an experienced defense lawyer. You do not want to hand a complicated defense on your own.
Having DWI Charges Reduced
For first-time offenders in particular, even if there is not strong evidence that could lead to a dismissal of the charges, your Rochester defense attorney may be able to have the charges reduced. To be clear, a DWI—even for a first-time offender—is a misdemeanor offense that, upon conviction, will result in a criminal record. If you are facing DWI charges, it could be possible to have those charges reduced to driving while ability impaired (or DWAI), which is a traffic violation instead of a misdemeanor offense. While a DWAI conviction can still result in a short jail term and a monetary fine, it will not result in you having a criminal record.
In many cases, when the charges are reduced, the defendant will need to plead guilty to the lesser offense. In the case of a DWI versus a DWAI, avoiding a criminal record can be extremely important. Having a criminal record can prevent you from obtaining certain forms of employment and credit, in addition to many other civil consequences.
Diversion Program Options in Rochester, NY
In some DWI cases, your lawyer may be able to get you into a pre-trial diversion program. Diversion programs are typically for first-time offenders. As long as a defendant completes all of the aspects of the diversion program, that defendant can avoid having a criminal record and can also avoid jail time and other significant penalties associated with a DWI conviction. According to the Monroe County District Attorney, in 2013 for example, there were 938 DWI arrests, and 171 of those were entered into pre-trial diversions.
Contact a Rochester DWI Defense Attorney
If you are facing DWI charges, the first thing you should do is contact a Rochester DWI attorney to beat these charges. Even the criminal penalties for a misdemeanor DWI offense are severe. New York State law enforcement officials take DWI charges extremely seriously, and people in Rochester routinely face DWI charges. Even a conviction for a first-time DWI offense can result in a sentence of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a suspended driver’s license for up to six months. With aggravated offenses and subsequent offenses, the penalties can be much more severe, resulting in terms of imprisonment and substantially higher fines.