Long Island DUI Lawyers Advocating for Your Rights
You have been enjoying a night out with friends and had a drink or two, but what happens when you are on your way home, and you see blue lights starting to flash behind you? Driving under the influence charges are very serious, but they aren’t always as clear-cut as you might think. Just because you are charged with a DUI does not mean that you will automatically be convicted of a crime.
With an experienced DUI lawyer fighting for your rights, you may be able to get the charges reduced or the case dismissed entirely. Keep reading to find out what DUI charges mean, the possible penalties in the state of New York, and your defense options.
If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence and are in need of a DWI attorney, contact MontanaroLaw P.C., We serve clients in Massapequa, Long Island, and the greater New York City area and are ready to discuss the details of your case and how we can help.
What Does It Mean If I’m Charged With a DUI?
Being charged with a DUI means that you were arrested for driving under the influence of a substance. Most DUI charges result from drunk driving, but you can also be charged with a DUI or DWI if the officer suspects you were driving under the influence of drugs or another impairing substance. Other charges are also possible, along with a DUI. Reckless driving, resisting arrest, and various traffic offenses often accompany these charges.
DUI charges should always be taken very seriously. In the state of New York, a first-offense DUI is charged as a misdemeanor. However, if you are deemed a repeat offender, the charges can escalate to the felony level, which comes with much more severe consequences.
What Should I Do If I’m Arrested?
If you are being arrested and charged with a DUI, it’s important to cooperate with the police but not answer any questions until you have retained a DUI lawyer. You can request that your attorney be present for any questioning, and an attorney can also help negotiate for your release while you await court.
Once you have been charged, review the paperwork thoroughly. You will need to understand exactly what crime you are being charged with, the possible penalties under New York state law, and the instructions for your next hearing. Make sure to give all of this information to your attorney so they can start reviewing your case and working to provide a solid defense strategy.
What Are My Options for Defense?
Helping you strategize your defense is one of the most important functions of DUI lawyers. The right defense strategy for your situation depends on the details of your case, the exact charges, whether you have any prior offenses, and the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. Below are the three main options for DUI defense.
Take a Plea
In many DUI cases, the evidence is pretty straightforward. You failed a field sobriety test or had a tested blood alcohol level that was above the New York state limits. There were no procedural issues involved, and everything was done by the book. In this case, a DUI attorney might suggest that you plead guilty. This often involves pleading down the charge, which means that the prosecution agrees to change the charge to a lower-level crime in exchange for not having to go through the time, energy, and money involved in taking the case to trial.
Pleading guilty to any crime is never something that should be done without understanding the full ramifications. Your attorney can advise you on what the penalties for the charge are and whether it’s in your interests to take a plea or move forward with a trial.
Go to Trial
If you enter a plea of not guilty, your case will move forward to trial. According to New York state law, you are entitled to a jury trial if you so choose. However, you may also have the option of a bench trial, which is where you agree to forgo a jury of your peers and instead rely on the judge’s discretion.
Anytime you are involved in a criminal trial, it is a serious process and one you should have knowledgeable legal representation for. An attorney can fight for your rights and represent your interests, handle deposing of witnesses, and look for procedural errors or other evidence that may be in your favor.
Attempt to Have the Charges Dropped
While you technically either have to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty when you are charged with a crime, this doesn’t mean you have to go forward with a full trial. Depending on the circumstances involved in your case, a DUI lawyer may be able to get a drunk driving charge dismissed if there were procedural issues, such as an illegal stop.
Individual evidence may also be able to be suppressed. For example, the devices officers use to conduct breath tests must be properly calibrated and administered to deliver accurate results. If this didn’t happen, your attorney may be able to get the breath test results dismissed, which would then likely leave the prosecution with not enough evidence to move forward.
It’s not easy to get a DUI case thrown out, and that’s why it’s important to have experienced representation who can exhaust every avenue to ensure that you are putting forth a strong defense and protecting your rights.
What Are the Possible Consequences of a DUI Conviction?
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in the state of New York. It can result in criminal charges, points on your driving record, and even the revocation of your driver’s license. When deciding what strategy you want to use to defend yourself against these charges, it’s important to fully understand the potential penalties. These are several charges related to DUIs in New York, so we’ve included a few of the most common below:
- Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired by a Drug (blood alcohol level of .08 or higher): Up to 1 year in jail, maximum $1,000 fine, 6-month driver’s license suspension
- Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (blood alcohol level between .05 and .07): Up to 15 days in jail, maximum $500 fine, 90-day driver’s license suspension
- Chemical Test Refusal: $500 fine and 1-year driver’s license suspension
- Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (blood alcohol level of at least .18): Up to 1 year in jail, maximum $2,500 fine, 1-year driver’s license suspension
Keep in mind that these DWI penalties are for first offenses. If you have a previous conviction, the consequences get steeper, as outlined below.
Consequences for Repeat Offenders
- Second Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated in 10 years: Up to 4 years in jail, maximum $5,000 fine, 18-month driver’s license suspension
- Third Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated in 10 years: Up to 7 years in jail, maximum $10,000 fine, 18-month driver’s license suspension
- Second DWI in 10 years: Up to 4 years in jail, maximum $5,000 fine, 1-year driver’s license suspension
- Third DWI in 10 years: Up to 7 years in jail, maximum $10,000 fine, 1-year driver’s license suspension
Will I Have to Go to Trial for DUI Charges?
While the traditional process for any criminal charge, including a DWI offense, is to move from arrest and arraignment to trial, it’s not the only option. DUI lawyers have the experience to see if there are other options, whether that’s negotiating a plea bargain to avoid a trial or getting the case thrown out before it goes to trial.
It’s normal to be nervous about going through legal proceedings, and a criminal trial is possibly one of the most intimidating. At MontanaroLaw P.C., we strive to ensure that you understand what is happening throughout the judicial process to help you feel more comfortable and prepared.
How Can a New York DUI Lawyer Help?
Having a New York DUI lawyer on your legal team as you fight driving while intoxicated charges offer many benefits. In addition to having someone who you can ask questions and discuss the details of your case with, hiring a criminal law attorney to fight your DUI charges comes with the following advantages.
They Can Represent You in Criminal Court
Once you have hired a DUI attorney, they can represent you throughout the process, including in criminal court. They will talk with the prosecution, including negotiating any applicable plea deals, drafting and entering relevant motions to your case, raising objections at trial as necessary, and arguing for your side through the opening and closing statements.
Your attorney understands all of the rules and procedures that govern the criminal courts, including how to address the job, when objections can be made, how to enter evidence, and what to look for during the trial in case you want to appeal later on.
They Can Advise You of Your Legal Options
If this is not your first DUI charge, or there are other charges involved, such as reckless driving, property damage, or vehicular assault, you may face more serious penalties. And this means that you need to have a full understanding of all of your legal options and the possible and likely outcomes of each.
If you are facing a possible 4-year jail term and up to $5,000 in fines for a second DWI offense, you may want to consider pleading to a lesser charge for extended probation or a shorter jail sentence. Your attorney can explain all of your options and the pros and cons of each and provide their legal opinion on which one is right for you.
They Can Negotiate a Plea
Plea bargaining negotiations are a common part of facing criminal charges, and this is true for DUI charges as well. An experienced DWI attorney will know what your reasonable plea options are and how to handle any plea bargains proposed by the prosecution. They can also help you come up with your own plea proposal if one is not initially offered by the other side.
If you’re considering a plea deal, it’s important to talk with your attorney about what this means for your future. In many cases, it involves a permanent guilty conviction on your record, which can have long-term consequences for things like future employment. Having a conviction can also mean that any subsequent charges are leveled up to more serious penalties and stronger potential sentences.
Get Knowledgeable Legal Representation for Your DUI Arrest
A DUI lawyer should be your first call when you face charges related to a DWI offense. At MontanaroLaw P.C., we handle DUI cases on a regular basis, so we know how the system works and how to ensure you put forth the right defense. We will discuss the details of your case and provide legal counsel on your options. We focus on ensuring our clients are fully informed of everything that’s going on so they can work with us to make the right decisions for their defense strategy.
If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence in the state of New York, the team at MontanaroLaw P.C. can help. We serve clients in Massapequa, Long Island, and the greater Nassau and Suffolk County area. We have the experience and knowledge you need from your legal representation when you are facing these serious charges. Schedule a free consultation when you call us today at (516) 203-1700, and take the first step to protect your rights and fight your criminal charges.