Guilty Pleas in New York City DWI Cases

One of the most commonly asked questions of New York City DWI lawyers by their clients is whether, in light of their New York City DWI arrest, they should forgo trial on misdemeanor DWI charges and just accept the state’s offer of plea to a DWAI-Alcohol violation The answer, unfortunately, is it depends on numerous variables. Only by retaining an experienced New York City DWI defense attorney can a true and accurate assessment of any offered plea by the state in a DWI case be ascertained.

This is partly due to the nature of criminal cases. Despite the generalization of conduct on the books as either criminal or legal, misdemeanor or felony, petty or a traffic violation, criminal cases are decided – at least in theory – on the weight of proof establishing real or actual conduct. For example, in a DWI case, a charge of VTL § 1192(2) DWI (Pro Se DWI) at arraignment is not likely to be the charge you ultimately have at trial if New York City DWI defense lawyers can suppress blood alcohol content or BAC results, obtained at the precinct. Nevertheless, some general information on how prosecutors often charge these cases may provide a measure of understanding of why, despite the serious penalties, less experienced New York City DWI defense lawyers often press their clients to plead guilty to a DWAI-Alcohol violation, regardless of the evidence against their clients in a New York DWI case.

The Vehicle and Traffic Law makes clear that the ability of prosecutors to charge and ultimately secure a conviction under one of New York’s many DWI offenses depends not only on the weight of evidence of drunk driving but also the type as well. For example, to obtain your conviction for DWAI-Alcohol under VTL § 1192(1), prosecutors must prove, through either circumstantial or direct evidence, your ability to drive a car was diminished, to any extent, as a result of alcohol consumption – the lesser standard of impairment. On the other hand, for a Common Law DWI conviction under VTL § 1192(3), prosecutors must prove that the consumption of alcohol had rendered you incapable of operating a motor vehicle as a reasonably safe and cautious driver would, the standard known as intoxication. But if in your case there is proof your blood alcohol content or BAC was the legal limit of .08 or higher, prosecutors can charge you with all of these offenses as well as the separate crimes of Per Se or Aggravated Per Se DWI; offenses solely concerned with your BAC as opposed to your driving condition on the roads of New York State.

In short, the more crimes prosecutors can charge you for any alleged act of criminal conduct, the better their chance of obtaining a conviction and, thus, the more appealing accepting a guilty plea becomes – both to the client and self-aware DWI lawyer. This is a product of overcriminalization; a systemic problem that is no means unique to DWI arrests. But for many, it is upon their DWI arrest that they first realize the all too real effect of America’s overcriminalization of a single act of disputable illegality: the chilling of constitutional trial rights and assembly-line lawyering.

So to answer your question to the best of our ability here, agreeing to plead guilty to a reduced DWI charge of driving while ability impaired in New York may be advantageous – but any of the best New York City DWI defense attorneys would agree that this is not true in all cases. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman are some of best DWI defense lawyers in New York and communicate with our clients not only to advise them of the pros and cons of any offered strategy in defending DWI charges by the state but zealously work to ensure any decision that is made by the client is made under the best possible circumstances for their case. Ultimately, the only person who can make the decision on whether, or how, to contest any charge of DWI is you. Consulting with top New York City DWI attorneys as early as possible following arrest can ensure that when that decision is made, it is the right one for you and you alone.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today with the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman

Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced DWI lawyers today. With us as your advocates, you just may be able to obtain the result you are looking for – whether it be a dismissal, a DWAI-Alcohol violation or an acquittal after trial.

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