There is an all too common misunderstanding about the criminal justice system in New York State when it comes to DWI charges. It’s the notion that if you have been charged with DWI and, if you have no prior alcohol-related conviction, you can proceed in court just as successfully without an attorney.
Sometimes, the misunderstanding comes from another direction. One may think that because the case is pretty much “open and shut,” that one need not spend more money. In other words, the DWI is going to cost enough; why make it worse with having to pay an attorney?
Unfortunately, Many Learn the Hard Way
Many learn the hard way. A DWI charge is a serious matter. Someone charged with such a serious offense faces not only financial issues, but he or she can even be sent to jail.
First DWI is Usually a Misdemeanor
New York is serious about its driving laws. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime, usually a misdemeanor. Even a first conviction results in most, if not all, the following:
- Substantial fine
- Mandatory surcharge
- Revocation of one’s driver’s license
- Installation of an ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle you own or operate
- Participation in Drinking Driver Program
- Possible jail time and probation
For someone charged with aggravated DWI, the situation is even more serious. Fines can be as high as $2,500 and jail terms can be up to one year.
First Conviction Carries With it Other Practical Limitations
While a New Yorker convicted of a DWI offense may qualify for either a conditional license or a hardship license, in either case, one’s ability to drive is severely limited. While those who live in and around Manhattan may be able to get along without a personal means of transportation, those who live in the Greater Capital Region are directly impacted by a loss of driving privileges.
A convicted DWI offender – even following a first offense – also faces an unpleasant surprise when the auto insurance bill arrives. The premium costs for auto insurance can be gravity-defying. A DWI: It’s the offense that keeps on punishing the offender, long after the court date.
DWI Law is Complex
Being charged with a DWI offense in New York is a serious matter, even if it is a first offense. The fines are high and the other penalties are real. One cannot ignore the fact that a judge has the power to send a convicted DWI offender, even for a first offense, to jail. If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI offense, you owe it to yourself to retain the best legal team available. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the judgment and experience to negotiate the best possible plea and to negotiate for a conditional or hardship license, if you qualify.
We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Greater Capital Region We have been representing clients for more than a hundred years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 274-5820 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.