DWI Attorney in Rochester NY Explains a Pretrial Diversion Felony DWI
Considering direct and indirect costs, the average price of a DWI conviction in New York is about $15,000. The average cost of a felony DWI is usually even higher. Higher insurance rates account for much of this increase. DWI offenders must usually obtain high-risk SR-22 insurance and keep it for at least three years.
A DWI attorney in Rochester NY cannot change what insurance companies charge. But a DWI attorney can reduce or eliminate these expenses. As outlined below, effective DWI defenses are usually available. If the defense is strong enough, an attorney could get a not-guilty verdict at trial or even get the case thrown out of court. If the defense is not quite as strong, pretrial diversion might be an option. Monroe County is one of the only jurisdictions in the country where pretrial diversion, of sorts, is available in a felony DWI.
Possible Defenses with DWI Attorney Rochester NY
Lack of evidence is one of the most effective defenses in criminal cases. Frequently, there is a complete lack of evidence on one element of the offense.
“Asleep at the wheel” DWIs are a good example. Many people are surprised to learn that “driving” is not an element of “driving while intoxicated.” Prosecutors must only prove that the defendant was operating the vehicle. In some cases, the prosecutor might not even need to verify the car was running.
However, the state must always prove the car was drivable and the defendant intended to drive it. There is often no evidence of drivability. Most officers pay little or no attention to things like the vehicle’s condition or the gas amount in the tank. Furthermore, a person’s intent is always hard to prove, especially beyond a reasonable doubt, in situations like this one.
Other defenses are available, as well. An officer’s field sobriety test evaluation is usually completely one-sided. Furthermore, chemical tests, especially Breathalyzer tests, are far from 100 percent accurate and reliable.
Felony DWI Pretrial Diversion in Monroe County
If you face charges for a basic felony DWI (no accident or other aggravating circumstances, like a breath test refusal), you may be eligible for Monroe County’s DWI diversion program.
Most pretrial diversion programs result in a dismissal of charges if defendants complete a few simple program requirements. This program is different. Successful completion means prosecutors reduce the felony charges to a misdemeanor. Furthermore, the program requirements are rather strict. They include:
- Obtaining a substance abuse evaluation
- Surrendering your drivers’ license
- Abstaining from all drugs and alcohol
- Completing required substance abuse treatment
- Appearing in court periodically – typically every month
- Staying out of trouble
Most of these diversion programs last six months or a year. It’s not easy to abstain for a year. It’s also challenging to complete all these program requirements while you are unable to drive. Furthermore, some people have issues with alcohol evaluations. Many times, if the defendant says they do not have a problem with alcohol, the counselor believes the defendant is in denial. If you do not complete this program for any reason, the court will drop you, and all your efforts will amount to nothing.
All that being said, the payoff is significant. You will not have a felony on your record. Additionally, as mentioned, the costs of a misdemeanor DWI are much lower than felony costs. That’s especially true regarding indirect costs, such as your ability to get a job. So, you and your DWI attorney Rochester NY must carefully consider whether you are a good candidate for this program.
Although you avoid a felony conviction, you must plead guilty to a misdemeanor DWI as part of the arrangement. The judge will most likely sentence you to an additional three years’ probation.
Count on a Dedicated Attorney
If you are charged with felony DWI, you have legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced DWI attorney in Rochester, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi.