Facing DWI charges in Onondaga County can have long-term consequences. Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony DWI charges, a conviction will result in a permanent criminal record and increased insurance premiums. Other penalties include jail time, driver’s license suspension or revocation, and difficulty obtaining housing and employment.
The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers have extensive experience representing clients facing DWI charges in Onondaga County. We will help you understand the charges against you, the possible penalties, and the legal defenses available. The sooner you reach out to an experienced DWI attorney, the sooner your attorney can develop your legal defense strategy.
DWI Laws in Onondaga County
Under New York State law, It is a crime to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Specifically, the crime of driving while under the influence (DWI) occurs when a driver has voluntarily consumed alcohol to the extent that he or she is incapable of employing the physical and mental abilities that he or she is expected to possess to operate a vehicle reasonably and prudently. Similarly, drivers cannot operate a motor vehicle when the use of drugs impairs their ability to operate it.
A police officer can only pull over a driver when the officer reasonably suspects that the driver is violating one or more New York laws. If the officer believes there is probable cause that the driver is driving while intoxicated, the officer can arrest the driver. In most cases, police officers use blood, urine, or breath tests to determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). When a driver’s BAC is .08 percent or higher, the driver is considered intoxicated.
However, a prosecutor can convict a driver of a DWI without blood or urine test results. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. Prosecutors can use evidence such as swerving in and out of lanes, the smell of alcohol and the driver’s breath, or a failed field sobriety test to prove intoxication.
DWI Charges at the Onondaga County District Court
The New York State Legislature established a STOP-DWI program in 1981 called “Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated.” Onondaga County participates in this program to reduce alcohol and other drug-related traffic accidents. STOP-DWI financially incentivizes New York Counties to arrest residents for DWI-related charges and engage in education.
As a result, Onondaga County takes DWI charges seriously. The DWI Bureau of the Onondaga County District Attorney’s officer is responsible for prosecuting offenses related to driving while intoxicated. Specifically, the Bureau prosecutes the following cases:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Boating while intoxicated
- Snowmobiling while intoxicated
- Driving while intoxicated with minor children in the vehicle
- All vehicular fatalities
- Unlicensed operation of a vehicle when the underlying suspension is due to a DWI
The Onondaga County District Attorney’s office is located at the following address:
Criminal Courthouse, 4th Floor
505 South State Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
The Penalties of a First-TIme DWI Conviction
The penalties for a DWI charge vary depending on the circumstances of the case. For example, the penalties for a first offense or misdemeanor DWI charge include a fine between $500 and $1,000 plus a surcharge of $395 to $400. The defendant could spend up to a year in jail and face two to three years of probation. His or her driver’s license will be revoked for at least six months.
Penalties for a Second-Time DWI Conviction
A second DWI offense within ten years will result in a class E felony charge much more serious than a misdemeanor charge. In addition to finding up to one year in jail or both, the defendant will have his or her driver’s license mandatorily revoked for at least one year. If the previous DWI conviction was for an aggravated DWI, the driver’s license will be revoked for 18 months.
Aggravated DWI (Misdemeanor) and Felony DWI
When the prosecutor can show that there were aggravating factors present, the defendant can face aggravated DWI charges. The penalties for this misdemeanor include a fine between $1,000 and $2,500, up to one year in jail or both, probation, mandatory revocation of a driver’s license for at least a year, and other penalties. Prosecutors can bring Class E felony charges for a second DWI charge within 10 years. The defendant can be fined up to $5,000, spend up to 4 years, stay in prison, or both, and his or her driver’s license will be revoked for at least one year.
Defenses to DWI Charges in Onondaga County
As you can see, the penalties for DWI charges are serious in Onondaga County. Even if this is your first time being charged with a DWI, you should take the charges against you seriously. Your insurance premiums will increase if you are convicted. A DWI conviction could harm your housing, educational, and occupational opportunities. Losing your driver’s license could make getting to and from work extremely challenging.
Developing an effective legal defense is crucial to dismissing or reducing the charges against you. Prosecutors may overcharge a driver with a DWI, knowing that they don’t have solid evidence against the driver. You must discuss your case with an attorney before accepting a plea deal, especially if you are pressured to accept the deal by prosecutors. When you work with The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers, we will immediately investigate the charges against you and identify holes in the prosecution’s case, constitutional violations, and other legal defenses.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a DWI Attorney in Onondaga County
Hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial if you are facing a DWI charge in Onondaga County. The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers have the resources and experience to defend clients against DWI clients strategically. Don’t hesitate to contact The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation.