First-Time DWI

Saratoga County Lawyer Skilled in Drunk Driving Cases

The penalties and other consequences for a conviction of driving while intoxicated (DWI) have grown increasingly harsh over the past few decades. Under current laws, even a first-time DWI offender may face jail time, fines, and other penalties. Many arrests do not lead to a conviction, however. Saratoga County first-time DWI attorney Gregory P. Garofalo can knowledgeably review the circumstances of your arrest and formulate a defense strategy to minimize the consequences of the charge that you are facing.

Generally speaking, the likelihood of a criminal conviction for a drunk driving offense hinges on the offender’s blood alcohol content (or “BAC”). In New York, a person whose BAC was .08% or greater may be convicted of DWI. In some cases, such as those involving drivers under 21 or drivers with commercial motor vehicle licenses, the threshold is even lower. In most cases, a DWI-first offense is a misdemeanor, meaning that the maximum sentence is one year in jail. However, certain special circumstances may turn even a DWI-first charge into a felony. For instance, since the passage of Leandra’s Law in 2009, it has been a felony offense to transport children aged 15 or younger inside a vehicle when the driver is intoxicated.

Possible Defenses to a First-Time DWI Charge Under New York Law

The state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in any criminal case, including a DWI-first. The defendant may have several viable defenses, including the legality of the initial traffic stop. Was a checkpoint stop legal? Did the officer have a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull over the defendant? If the State is able to prove that the stop itself was legal, there may be other issues concerning the arrest, such as whether the field sobriety tests were performed properly, whether the breathalyzer machine was calibrated correctly, or whether it was operated by someone with the requisite training.

It is important to thoroughly review a defendant’s traffic stop, breath or blood test, and arrest in order to search for any weaknesses in the state’s case. Even a first-time conviction for DWI may result in jail time, fines, the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), probation, a suspended or revoked driver’s license, and higher insurance rates in the future. These penalties may also disrupt the defendant’s work or school life and affect future career opportunities. Depending upon the defendant’s line of work, for example, they may lose their job and struggle to find future employment. If they are arrested again in the future, moreover, a DWI-first conviction may be used to enhance the sentence for the new crime.

Retain a First-Time DWI Attorney in Saratoga County or Beyond

If you have been arrested for DWI, it is important to consult a lawyer who can help you understand the laws and criminal procedures of the State of New York with respect to the offense of driving while intoxicated. Knowledgeable Saratoga County first-time DWI lawyer Gregory P. Garofalo regularly assists people in Ballston Lake, Ballston Spa, Malta, Rotterdam, Clifton Park, Saratoga Springs, Gansevoort, Waterford, Albany, Latham, Schenectady, Glens Falls, and Queensbury, among other areas of Saratoga, Albany, Warren, Washington, and Schenectady Counties. He can put his 27 years of experience, as well as his familiarity with the local judges and courts in the Capital District area, to work in vigorously defending your DWI case. Call Gregory P. Garofalo at 518-584-1557 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. He can also help you if you need a traffic ticket attorney to contest a moving violation.

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