Recently, a woman pled guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide after a drunk driving accident, which was also a hit and run. The accident resulted in the death of a 61-year-old man she struck and left on the side of the road in Upstate New York. The woman had pled guilty to a different DWI charge 10 days before she hit and killed the 61-year-old. She was sentenced to 6-18 years in prison. If you were charged with drunk driving, you should call experienced White Plains DWI lawyer Mark A. Siesel.
The man’s son spoke out about the impact of drunk driving and accountability on the day that would have been the man’s 62nd birthday. This was one of several DWI-related sentences issued in Upstate New York. One of these sentences was of an18-year-old who received 6 months in county jail after killing a classmate while drunk driving. In another DWI-sentence, the court examined a wrong-way crash that killed two and handed down a jail sentence of at least 8 years.
The state police have reported 1/3 of all fatal crashes in New York are alcohol-related. More than 11,000 were killed in alcohol-related accidents in 2020.
Driving while intoxicated is a charge that prosecutors take seriously. It is not always possible to negotiate a plea deal, but your odds are better when you’re represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney. Under VTL 1192-2, you could be convicted of a DWI if you drive while intoxicated with a .08 blood alcohol concentration or higher, or there is other evidence of impairment because of alcohol. If you were convicted of a DWI, and nobody was injured, you could still lose your driving privileges and face fines and jail time.
In some cases, an experienced attorney can negotiate a plea deal so that you plead guilty to driving while ability impaired (DWAI), which is a violation rather than a criminal offense. However, it can be harder to negotiate this type of deal if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was found to be very high. If you have a BAC of .08 or more at the time of arrest and you’re charged with a DWI, your license will be suspended pending prosecution, though we may be able to argue for a hardship license that would allow you to drive to work or school.
Likewise, it can also be very difficult to negotiate a plea deal if someone was injured or killed as a result of your DWI. If you were found guilty of a DWI that results in injury or death, you could face a significant prison sentence for vehicular assault or manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, for example, carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison, plus license suspension and revocation.
While much is at stake with a DWI charge, including potential jail or prison time and large fines, you shouldn’t assume a conviction is assured; there may be significant defenses that apply to your situation, even if somebody was injured or killed. Additionally, some district attorneys may be willing to consider plea deals even if you’ve refused a chemical test; Westchester County’s policy changed in 2020 in that regard. In other cases, it may be appropriate to challenge the admissibility of the chemical test results.
If you or a loved one faces DWI charges, or other alcohol-related charges, you should call seasoned and tenacious White Plains DWI attorney Mark A. Siesel to seek legal representation. Mr. Siesel has represented clients for more than 30 years. He handles DWI cases in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Sullivan, Rockland, Orange, and Ulster Counties. Call us at (914) 428-7386 or fill out an online form for dedicated legal counsel.