By: Passalacqua & Associates

Syracuse’s : When a Standard DWI Becomes More Serious

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How Many Accidents and Deaths Are Caused by DWI in New York?

The State of New York enacted the nation’s first driving while intoxicated (DWI) law back in 1910. In 2024, if you are charged in or near the Syracuse area with driving while intoxicated – or with aggravated DWI – you must be advised and defended by a Syracuse DWI lawyer.

More than 7,000 alcohol-related traffic accidents happened in this state in 2022, resulting in 335 lives lost. It’s important for every driver in New York to understand what constitutes DWI and aggravated DWI so that you can avoid alcohol-related arrests, accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

What Constitutes DWI and Aggravated DWI?

In the State of New York, a motorist may be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated if that motorist is driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher (or 0.04 percent or higher if the motorist holds a commercial driver’s license).

In 2007, lawmakers in New York enacted the aggravated DWI law. Aggravated driving while intoxicated entails stricter penalties for convictions. You may be charged with aggravated DWI if you drive with a BAC level of 0.18 percent or higher.

What is DWAI?

A driver in New York may also be charged with DWAI (driving while ability impaired) if his or her blood alcohol concentration level measures at or over 0.05 percent but below 0.08 percent.

Driving while ability impaired is not considered a crime in New York – instead, it’s a traffic infraction – but a conviction for DWAI can nevertheless land a defendant in jail for up to fifteen days and prompt a fine of up to $500.

How Are DWI and Aggravated DWI Convictions Penalized?

If you’re convicted of either DWI or aggravated DWI, the penalties that will be imposed depend on the details of the charge against you and whether you have previous alcohol-related driving convictions. The standard penalties for first-offense DWI and aggravated DWI in New York are:

  1.  For driving while intoxicated: a mandatory fine of up to $1,000, a driver’s license revocation of at least six months, and the possibility of up to a year in jail
  2.  For aggravated driving while intoxicated: a mandatory fine of up to $2,500, a driver’s license revocation of at least one year, probation for up to three years, the possibility of up to a year in jail, and mandatory attendance at a Victim Impact Panel

Along with the legal penalties, convictions for DWI or aggravated DWI will raise your auto insurance rates and could even damage your ability to find or retain employment. If you drive for a living, you’ll probably have to find other work after a DWI or aggravated DWI conviction.

When is Aggravated DWI a Felony?

New York drivers who are charged with aggravated DWI within ten years of a previous driving while intoxicated or aggravated DWI conviction may be charged with felony aggravated DWI. A conviction for felony aggravated DWI entails these potential penalties:

  1.  probation for up to three years
  2.  incarceration for up to four years
  3.  a fine of up to $5,000 (with a minimum mandatory $1,000 fine)
  4.  a driver’s license revocation for up to eighteen months
  5. court-ordered attendance at a Victim Impact Panel

How Will Your Lawyer Fight an Aggravated DWI Charge?

A Syracuse DWI attorney can use a number of legal strategies to defend you against an aggravated DWI charge. Your lawyer will find any weaknesses in the state’s case in an effort to have the charge reduced, dropped, or dismissed and to help you retain your driving privileges.

If there’s a flaw in the prosecution’s case, your DWI lawyer will find that flaw and use it to your advantage. If your rights were violated when the police arrested, questioned, or stopped you, a prosecutor could drop the aggravated DWI charge or a court could dismiss the case.

Like all devices, breathalyzers malfunction, so your lawyer could challenge the results of your breathalyzer test. To remain accurate, breathalyzers must be calibrated and maintained routinely. Your DWI lawyer could also challenge the credentials of the officer who administered the test.

What Outcomes Are Possible in Aggravated DWI Cases?

In aggravated DWI cases, especially if the state’s evidence is overwhelming, your Syracuse DWI lawyer may negotiate to obtain an acceptable plea deal. In most plea deals, a defendant pleads guilty to a reduced charge and serves the sentence for that lesser offense.

Don’t try to negotiate a plea deal by yourself, and thoroughly discuss any plea deal offer with your lawyer before you reject or accept the offer. However, in most cases, if you are innocent of DWI or aggravated DWI, you should enter a not guilty plea and insist on a jury trial.

Aggravated DWI trials are rare; these cases are typically resolved with plea deals or with guilty pleas. While the final choice to accept or reject a plea bargain or to take an aggravated DWI case to trial is yours and yours alone, it’s almost always best to heed your DWI attorney’s advice.

When Will You Need an Attorney?

If you are charged with DWI or aggravated DWI in or near the Syracuse area, contact a DWI lawyer as quickly as possible. Your lawyer will safeguard your rights, explain the legal process as it moves forward, and advocate effectively for the justice you need.

Do not even consider acting as your own lawyer. In the 21st century, the law and the science in DWI cases are both exceedingly complicated, and especially if the charge is aggravated DWI, too much will be at stake. You should be advised and defended by a Syracuse DWI attorney.

Take Your Aggravated DWI Case to Passalacqua & Associates

It’s imperative to have the right defense lawyer if you are charged with DWI or aggravated DWI in the Syracuse area. Passalacqua & Associates is an award-winning team of defense lawyers with more than three decades of experience representing DWI and aggravated DWI defendants.

Our defense attorneys know what it takes to win the justice you need, and we have a proven track record in DWI and aggravated DWI cases. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated or with aggravated DWI, now or in the future, Passalacqua & Associates will provide you with an in-depth initial case evaluation – without any cost or obligation.

If the charge is aggravated DWI, you can’t take chances with an inexperienced lawyer. Your future will be at stake. Get the legal help you need with a DWI or aggravated DWI charge by calling Passalacqua & Associates at 315-277-3548. We know how to put the law on your side.