A Brooklyn drunk driving charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the offense. Either way, it’s a serious charge that requires a vigorous defense. In Brooklyn and in all of New York, most drunk driving charges are called driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated or driving while ability impaired.
Classification of the offense
A first drunk driving offense is usually punishable by up to one year in jail. If the conviction is for driving while ability impaired by alcohol, the jail exposure may be limited to fifteen days. While violators of New York’s zero tolerance law can’t face jail time, they face a longer license suspension than a person convicted of driving while ability impaired by alcohol.
A high blood alcohol level or prior convictions can quickly make an offense more serious than a typical DWI charge. With a blood alcohol level of .18 or more, an offender faces aggravated drunk driving charges. An aggravated drunk driving charge comes with a larger fine and a longer license suspension than a traditional Brooklyn DWI charge.
Repeat offender charges
Even one prior DWI offense within ten years enhances a simple drunk driving offense to a felony. A second drunk driving offense within ten years is a class E felony. Fines can range up to $5,000. A third drunk driving offense can land an offender in jail for up to seven years. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s up to the state to prove the prior offenses against you unless you enter a plea. It’s not unheard of for a state’s attorney to make errors and allege prior offenses that are outside the ten-year limitation period or that are for a different person entirely. If this happens to you, it’s critical to work with a brooklyn DWI attorney to clear up the matter.
Even though these are the maximum possible penalties, you might not necessarily serve the maximum sentence for the offense. Judges have a great deal of discretion in sentencing. There might be mitigating circumstances that reduce your culpability. You may have taken steps to rehabilitate yourself even before your sentence that might help the judge fashion a more lenient sentence.
When we work with clients, we discuss your goals, and then we set to work to address the case in a way that keeps your goals in mind. Preparing for a sentencing hearing if you enter a guilty plea is one of the important steps in representing a client to reach the best possible outcome in court. We prepare information to present to the judge in a convincing way to show them why our proposed sentence is the most appropriate for your case.
Commercial licenses and zero tolerance laws
In most cases, drunk driving occurs when a person drives with a bodily alcohol content of a .08 or higher or while their ability to drive is impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. However, a commercial driver has a higher burden. Any time they drive with a blood alcohol content of a .04 or higher they’re a drunk driver. For drivers under the age of twenty-one, any time they drive with a blood alcohol content of a .02 or higher, they’re in violation of New York law. Penalties for repeat zero tolerance offenses can include suspension of an operator’s license until the offender reaches twenty-one years of age.
Available defenses to a DWI charge
You may have defenses to the charges against you that can result in a complete dismissal of the case. The state might not be able to prove the charges against you. In some cases, you can bring a motion to the court to throw out evidence before a jury ever hears a word about the case. Usually this occurs when there’s a search and seizure violation. In other cases, there are defenses that the jury can hear that can call your guilt into question.
Sometimes, we work with experts that bring the state’s chemical evidence into doubt. An expert may be able to explain how your blood alcohol level was lower at the time you drove the vehicle than it was when you took a chemical test. They may be able to explain to the jury where the officer made errors that make their field sobriety tests unreliable.
Crimes are made up of steps or parts. These steps are called elements. If the state’s attorney can’t prove even a single element against you, the case fails. As your Brooklyn DWI lawyers, we invest the time to conduct our own investigation and go through the case element by element to see where the state’s evidence might be weak.
Why work with us
At Spodek Law Group, we’re committed to helping you defend your case in the best way possible. A skilled and seasoned attorney might spot defenses in your case that you hadn’t considered. Working with us gives you the confidence to know that you’re defending yourself with a team of experienced Brooklyn DWI lawyers by your side. If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, please call or message us today so that we can start working on your case.