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In New York State, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is not taken lightly. A person will be charged with a DWI for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more. For someone arrested for DWI, the experience can feel dehumanizing and terrifying. Understanding the steps involved can help make the process a little less stressful.

In Custody

After a driver is arrested on DWI charges, they will be held in custody while the arresting officer completes their paperwork. The driver will usually be released on their own recognizance. The driver will be ordered to appear in court for an arraignment.

The Arraignment

The first appearance in court is called an arraignment. In some parts of the state, this happens right after the arrest, but it usually takes place several days later. The judge reads the charge or charges the driver stands accused of and asks them whether they have an attorney, as well as how they wish to plead (i.e., guilty or not guilty). The judge may also set bail or alter the preliminary bail set by the police. If the court’s file contains a certified original report of the blood alcohol content, the driver’s license will be suspended for the duration of the case.

Plea Bargaining

The vast majority of DWI cases never make it to trial. More often than not, the prosecutor and the defense attorney negotiate a reduced charge or a favorable sentence. Note that New York law contains provisions against plea bargaining so that the driver can plead to a charge not including alcohol, as is common in certain other states. The law also places harsher penalties on drivers charged with aggravated DWI for a BAC over 0.18.

A DWI conviction carries heavy consequences for your personal and professional life. There is too much at stake to try and deal with this alone. Working with an experienced DWI attorney can help you secure the best possible outcome. If you or a loved one has been charged with DWI, contact the law firm of Jacobowitz & Gubits, LLP. A drink, car keys, and a gavel

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