Getting charged with a DWI in New York is a serious offense. But there may be some circumstances that may allow charges against you to be reduced to a DWAI. This is when it is critical to have an experienced New York DWI defense lawyer on your side.
DWI Vs. DWAI — What Is the Difference?
A DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated charge, is a misdemeanor that means that you are accused of driving at or over the legal blood alcohol content limit of 0.08%. A DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, is an infraction (and thus not a crime) where a driver is still accused of being impaired but to a lesser extent.
A DWI, as a misdemeanor, is a criminal charge, whereas a DWAI, a traffic infraction, will not have the same legal consequences as a DWI. Although there may still be fines and license suspensions associated with a DWAI, they are significantly less than a DWI.
How You May Have Your DWI Reduced to a DWAI in a Plea Deal
Although getting DWI charges dropped is not always possible, sometimes a DWI can be reduced to a DWAI if a plea bargain can be worked out with the prosecution. This is more likely to happen if there are no other aggravating factors surrounding your case. Particularly if you are a first-time offender with fairly low reading and no automobile accident, you have a better chance of getting your DWI charges reduced.
Having the representation of an experienced DWI lawyer can help you potentially negotiate for a lighter penalty through a plea deal. A plea deal is basically where you will agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge to get the more severe one dropped. This is often done when neither side wants to take the matter to trial.
But this can work both ways. Charges may be reduced in some cases, but they can also be elevated to a felony in other cases. A charge may be elevated if you have had prior DWI convictions or there were other aggravating factors surrounding your arrest.
Prosecutors often have latitude when considering a reduction or elevation of charges. In these instances, it’s essential to have the representation of a DWI defense lawyer who is experienced in the county where you have been charged. A lawyer who has experience defending individuals in that county will know the prosecutors and judges and will be better able to negotiate a plea deal understanding the personalities and inclinations of the others involved.
The Strength of Your Defense
It is important to remember that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. A conviction will be dependent on the available evidence and the strength of your defense. This is why it is crucial to have a skilled and experienced Suffolk County DWI defense lawyer defending you if you have been charged with a DWI. You may have several defenses available to you. Contact the law offices of Jason Bassett Criminal Attorney for a free consultation.