Westchester County Second Offense DWI Lawyer
If you are facing allegations involving a second DWI offense, you need to take special care to protect your future. Obtaining a first conviction for DWI is serious, but a conviction for a second is considered a felony and can have far-reaching consequences for every portion of your life.
A Westchester County second offense DWI lawyer could help you fight these charges in court. Prosecutors in these cases must still prove intoxication, and they are not allowed to refer to a prior conviction at any time during the trial. As a result, an effective DWI attorney could build a strong defense to the charges against you.
What Prosecutors Need to Prove
Local law enforcement takes allegations of DWI very seriously. People who are accused of a second DWI care treated as repeat offenders, and prosecutors are extremely unlikely to grant mercy to them.
The elements at the core of a second drunk driving charge remain the same as those for a first conviction. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or a drug at the time of the incident.
According to New York Vehicle and Traffic Code §1193(c), for a person to be charged with a second offense, their criminal record must indicate a DWI conviction within the past ten years. This conviction could occur in New York, or in any other jurisdiction.
However, prosecutors can raise this fact only during the sentencing portion of a case after the court determines a person’s guilt. That person can then face enhanced sentencing. A Westchester County attorney could help explain the qualifying factors for a second DWI conviction.
What Evidence is Common a Second DWI Trial?
The evidence used at trial will depend in part on the phase the trial is in. Specifically, the evidence used to establish guilt will be different compared to the evidence relied on in the penalty phase.
When establishing guilt, the state often builds their case around a chemical test. If the chemical test reflects that the defendant had a BAC of .08 or more, that alone could be enough for a conviction. Other evidence could include testimony from the officer regarding failed field sobriety tests or other signs of intoxication.
A driver’s BAC could also be used during the penalty phase. For a second offense DWI however, the most important evidence is proof of a previous conviction within the past 10 years. This could enhance the penalties that a defendant may face. An attorney in Westchester County could review the evidence against a defendant and determine how to best build a case.
What are Common Defenses to a Second Offense DWI?
The defenses to a second offense DWI are largely the same as any other drunk driving case. These defenses typically challenge the accuracy of the chemical test or the legality of the police stop. If the police make a mistake during testing or illegally pull over a driver, a Westchester County lawyer could prevent the state from using any evidence collected at trial for a second offense DWI. Additionally, challenging the authenticity of the prior DWI conviction could result in a reduced penalty upon conviction.
Penalties for a Second DWI Conviction in Westchester County
First convictions for DWI are misdemeanors. While a court may sentence someone to a term in jail, they are highly unlikely to do so. Most convicted individuals manage to escape by paying fines and serving the mandatory license suspension period.
By contrast, the State takes allegations of repeat DWI very seriously. The laws describe this offense as a Class E felony. This means that a conviction can result in up to four years in prison, the payment of a fine of up to $1,000, or both. In addition, a conviction gives the court no option but to suspend a person’s license for no less than one year. Finally, the court may require the driver to obtain an ignition interlock system on their car upon license reinstatement. A Westchester County lawyer could help people fight to maintain their freedom and driving privileges following DWI allegations for a second time.
A Westchester County Second Offense DWI Attorney Could Be an Ally
Facing allegations of a second drunk driving offense can be frustrating. If you have a prior history with drinking and driving that included a conviction, it is important to seek aggressive legal representation. A Westchester County second offense DWI lawyer could help. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman could build a strong defense to fight the charges you are facing. Contact an attorney today for a consultation to learn more.