What happens After Conviction
At Palumbo & Associates we are skilled and knowledgeable regarding sentencing for DWI convictions. Whether you are being sentenced on a NY felony DUI, misdemeanor New York DWI such as VTL § 1192(2), or the infraction of driving while ability impaired (DWAI), NY VTL § 1192(1), our New York driving while intoxicated defense counsel can consult with you and guide you through sentencing to get you the best sentencing deal possible. If you have been charged with DWI, call us at Palumbo & Associates to speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney.DWI Sentencing – an overview
Once convicted of a DWI or DWAI in New York, be it by a plea bargain or a finding of guilty after trial, you will be sentenced. As in any criminal proceeding, sentencing is up to the sound discretion of the court. However, in a DWI case there is an additional layer of punishment separate and apart from the judicial proceeding that is leveled by the NYS DMV. The court has no control over how the DMV handles your future driving privileges once you have been found guilty of a NY DWI or a DWAI.
Courts have broad sentencing discretion. Under the law, a court can sentence you to all or some of the following:
- Jail time
- Probation (specialized 3 year DWI probation or regular 1 year probation)
- Attendance to the MADD victim impact panel
- completion of the NYS DMV DDP (drinking driving program)
- A conditional discharge
The punishments which will be meted out by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles once convicted of a DWI are as follows:
- License suspension possibly with conditional driving privileges
- Requirement that you complete the drinking driver program
- Possible fine, called an assessment, if you refused to breathalyzer
- Compliance with all of the DMV’s requirements to get your full license back
In any criminal proceeding there are 2 distinct phases – the liability portion and the sentencing portion. The liability portion deals with whether you are guilty or not guilty. The sentencing portion deals with what your punishment will be if you are found guilty by plea (admitting guilt) or a finding of guilty after trial. Of course, if the charges are dismissed either pre trial or you are found not guilty after trial then your case does not move to the sentencing phase. Only if you are found guilty do you have to concern yourself with what the sentence will be.Controlling your New York DUI sentence through the plea bargain
Often times criminal defendants and the prosecutor engage in a process whereby the prosecution allows the defendant to plead guilty to something less than what the charges are instead of going to trial. This is called a plea bargain.
For example, often a DWI defendant is charged with the criminal misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, which is NY VTL § 1192(2). However, VTL § 1192(1) is the non criminal infraction of driving while ability impaired. While the DMV sanctions are the same whether you plead guilty to DWI or DWAI, a conviction of DWAI is NOT a criminal conviction and consequently does not create a permanent criminal record for the defendant. Often defendants accept such plea offer to guarantee the avoidance of a criminal record.
By doing a plea bargain to a lesser charge not only does one sometimes avoid a criminal record but the possible sentences are different for lower gradations of similar offenses. For example, the maximum jail sentence for a DWAI is 30 days, while the maximum jail sentence for a DWI is 1 year. By merely accepting a plea to the reduction means that the maximum jail sentence is 11 months shorter.
Another reason to accept a plea offer is to have control over your sentence. As already stated, the court has broad discretion over sentencing. However, a way to control the sentence and is to in effect enter into a contract with the court for the sentence / punishment on the condition that the judge only sentence you to certain punitive measures. DWI defendants are seeking to avoid a jail sentence and probation. Our office often negotiates a plea offer to DWAI for the minimal sentence; i.e., no jail or probation, minimum fine, the MADD victim impact panel, and a conditional discharge, the conditions of which are that the defendant has to complete the NYS DDP (which they have to do anyway to get their license back).
If you have been arrested for DWI and want to know more about sentencing NY DUI guidelines and plea negotiations, give our office a call today toll free at 1-877-99-No-Tix.