FELONY DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (DWI) & LEANDRA’S LAW

FELONY DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (DWI) & LEANDRA’S LAW

FORMER PROSECUTOR with over 20 plus years of experience.  When he was a prosecutor, Luigi was assigned to a specialized bureau in the District Attorney’s Office that exclusively prosecuted Driving While Intoxicated and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) by Drug cases including Felony DWI.  This was an elite unit that you had to be asked to join based on merit and was comprised of the most experienced trial lawyers in the District Attorney’s Office.  While in that unit, Luigi SUCCESSFULLY tried several DWI/DWAI by Drug jury trials with a 100% conviction rate and litigated many pretrial suppression hearings on a wide variety of constitutional issues where the suppression of evidence was at stake.

As a result of his accomplishments in that bureau, Luigi was promoted to the Felony Trial Bureau in the District Attorney’s Office where he handled complex Felony DWI/DWAI by Drug cases including those involving serious physical injury and death.  Unlike many lawyers, Luigi has a unique knowledge of the science of DWI/DWAI by Drug.  He also has extensive knowledge of how the police conduct these types of investigations including the administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and is intimately familiar with the strategies to attack the government’s case.

Clients should feel confident that while plea bargaining of a case is always the first strategy to resolve a matter, if clients wish to fight their cases by not pleading guilty, Luigi has the ability, expertise and experience of litigating DWI/DWAI by Drugs with a high rate of success.

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FELONY DWI IN NEW YORK EXPLAINED

In the State of New York, anytime a motorist is found to have driven with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 or higher, the police will arrest and charge the individual with an alcohol/driving related offense.

These charges can range from Driving While Ability Impaired by alcohol (BAC of .05 to .07) to Driving While Intoxicated Per Se (BAC of .08 to .17) to Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated Per Se (BAC of .18 or higher).  Finally, you can also be charged with a Felony DWI.  The difference in these charges can be significant and have a very negative impact on your life.

Prior Conviction Within Last 10 Years: A motorist can be charged with a felony DWI if he or she has a criminal conviction for DWI within the last 10 years.  In other words, if you have a Misdemeanor DWI conviction within the last 10 years and you are arrested for a new DWI, you will be charged with an “E” felony DWI.  If you have a prior felony DWI within the last 10 years, you will be charged with a class “D” felony.  DWI felonies may involve upstate prison if they are not properly handled. 

Leandra’s Law: Even if you have never been arrested in your entire life, if you are arrested for DWI and you have a child less than sixteen years old in the vehicle, you will be charged with a class “E” felony.

Common Law DWI Felony:  Often times, when a motorist is pulled over, if the officer suspects impairment or intoxication by alcohol, the officer will ask the motorist to take a preliminary breath test (PBT) at the scene and a chemical test at the precinct.  If the motorist refuses to take a test that measures intoxication, the prosecution does not have the benefit of a blood alcohol reading (BAC) in which to prosecute its case against you.  However, an officer can still arrest you for Common Law DWI, either as a Misdemeanor or Felony, and may base the arrest on the officer’s observations at the scene, any incriminating statements the motorist makes, the observations of civilian witnesses including evidence of an accident or erratic driving.

The prosecution and the DMV look at a variety of factors to determine what will happen if you are convicted of a felony alcohol while driving offense.  Such factors include whether there was an accident, whether someone was injured in the accident, whether you were operating a commercial vehicle as opposed to a non-commercial vehicle, whether you have ever been convicted of an alcohol related offense in the past, whether the past alcohol related conviction was within the last 25 years and whether the blood alcohol reading was at a certain level.  A conviction to any alcohol/driving related offense can be devastating to your employment, your ability to drive and to your reputation.

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TYPES OF ALCOHOL RELATED VIOLATIONS IN NYS

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
    .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher or other evidence of intoxication. For drivers of commercial motor vehicles:  .04 BAC or other evidence of intoxication.
  • Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI)
    .18 BAC or higher
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol)
    More than .05 BAC but less than .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug)
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination)
  • Chemical Test Refusal
    A driver who refuses to take a chemical test (normally a test of breath, blood or urine).
  • Zero Tolerance Law
    A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a .02 BAC to .07 BAC violates the Zero Tolerance Law.

In New York State, the penalties for an alcohol or drug-related violation include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term.

Additional penalties

  • greater penalties can also apply for multiple alcohol or drug violations within a 25-year period
  • surcharges are added to alcohol-related misdemeanors ($260) and felonies (generally $400, but varies slightly depending on court of conviction)
  • three or more alcohol or drug-related convictions or refusals within 10 years can result in permanent revocation, with a waiver request permitted after at least 5 years
  • a driver with an Aggravated DWI violation conviction within the prior 10 years will receive a minimum 18-month revocation if convicted of DWI, DWAI/Drugs or DWAI/Combination. Also, a driver with a prior DWI, Aggravated DWI, DWAI/Drugs or DWAI/Combination with the prior 10 years will receive a minimum 18-month revocation
  • a driver convicted of an Aggravated DWI, DWI, DWAI/Drug, DWAI/combination, vehicular assault and aggravated vehicular assault, or vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide three or more times in the preceding 15 year period is guilty of a Class D felony.
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Why You Should Choose Us to Help You Defend Your Felony DWI Case

First, we have extensive experience navigating the Felony DWI minefield.  Luigi has handled thousands of Felony DWIs including many Leandra’s Law DWIs as both a prosecutor and as a DWI/DWAI by Drugs defense attorney and is a master negotiator.  He can pick apart most of these cases by finding mistakes that the police made during their investigation.  Often, these mistakes mean that a client does not have to go to trial and instead can receive the benefit of a lower charge which carries less penalties including no jail, lower fines, no probation, no need to install an ignition interlock device in a motor vehicle and a sooner reinstatement of one’s full driving privileges.

Second, not every lawyer who handles Felony DWIs is an experienced trial lawyer. Any lawyer can walk into court and plead you guilty.  The reason you hire an experienced Felony DWI lawyer is because if plea negotiations break down, you want someone who has intimate knowledge of the science of these cases and can successfully go to trial and win.  Trial lawyers are highly specialized in trial advocacy.  Luigi has extensive experience in Felony DWI trials and litigation and has won many Felony DWI cases for his clients.

Lastly, we give personalized attention to each of our clients.  Whenever someone is arrested and charged with a crime, it can be psychologically and emotionally devastating.   

Luigi is in constant contact with his clients and explains the legal process to them and is with you EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.  Many clients refer their family and friends to us because they not only received a great result in their case, but also because Luigi made them feel like they mattered.

If you or a loved one is in trouble, call us 24 hours a day.  We are here to fight for you.

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The Law Offices of Luigi Vigliotti, P.C., serves clients in courts on Long Island, New York City and upstate New York.

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Law Offices of Luigi Vigliotti, P.C., located in Garden City, New York, serves clients throughout Long Island and the surrounding area, including in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, New York City and Upstate.

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