People tend to build internal hierarchies and create structure that help them understand the world around them, and sometimes, the ideas that we internalize can do more harm than good. For example, many people have an idea that certain crimes are much worse than others, and that personal belief leads them to underestimate the importance of criminal charges they consider minor.
While it is true that many people make a distinction between violent crime and other criminal offenses, that doesn’t mean that offenses you consider minimal or minor won’t matter to other people, such as future employers. One offense that too many people fail to take seriously is impaired driving. Because alcohol is legal and its use is common, quite a few people mistakenly believe that a first-time impaired driving offense won’t have a major impact on their life.
Pleading guilty to a criminal offense to avoid the drama of court or because you don’t think the consequences will be severe is a preventable mistake to which far too many people fall victim.
A first impaired driving offense puts you at risk for future issues
Most people are familiar with the idea that the penalties for criminal offenses increase with the number of convictions you have. Your first impaired driving charge may only carry a fine of between $500 and $1,000, up to a year in jail and loss of your license for six months or more.
However, if you face charges again in the future, the penalties increase to a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, as well as up to four years in jail and loss of your license for a year or longer, provided that the second offense is within 10 years of the first. That means more potential jail time, higher fines and a longer time without your license.
Defending against an initial criminal charge can reduce the penalties you may face if you ever get arrested again in the future. Beyond that, there’s also the long-term damage a criminal conviction can do to your employment prospects. Simply put, avoiding a conviction or guilty plea for driving while impaired (DWI) helps you by keeping you protected from increasing penalties in the future.
It is possible to defend yourself from DWI allegations
Thanks to field sobriety tests and roadside chemical breath tests, another pervasive myth about DWI charges has developed. Many people think that it’s impossible to defend against DWI charges, but that simply isn’t true. Neither the officer’s interpretation of your actions nor the chemical test is infallible.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may have many options for defending yourself against a first DWI charge in New York.