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Can You Plead to a Lesser Offense than DWI in New York?

Law Office of Joel R. Salinger, P.C. Aug. 14, 2022

No, a plea bargain for a conviction of "wet reckless" (reckless driving involving alcohol) is barred by statute in New York.

First NY DWI Offense

  • Jail – Up to 1 Year

  • Fine – From $500 to $1,000

  • License Suspension – 6 Month Minimum

  • Pay Mandatory Surcharge

  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening and/or Alcohol Evaluation

Other Possibilities can include: having to install an Ignition Interlock Device and a driver assessment penalty. If there is a passenger under 16 in the vehicle, the charge is escalated to a Class "E" Felony with a Fine Up to $5,000 and / or, Jail - Up to 4 Years!

Administrative and criminal penalties for first time offenders in New York may vary depending on the blood alcohol content (BAC) and other circumstances such as the age of the driver, whether a minor is present, and whether the driver is categorized as “commercial. Typically, punishment increases for drivers with a BAC of .18 or higher.

Administrative Penalties

First offense DWI/DUI for a BAC of .08% and higher (up to.18%) carries administrative license suspension of a minimum of six months (one-year for drivers under 21 or with BAC over .18). Refusals to submit under New York’s Implied Consent Laws results in automatic license suspension of one year for first offenders. Reinstatement of license requires payment of reinstatement fees, completion of alcohol assessment/treatment, and if applicable, installation of an ignition interlock device.

Criminal Penalties

Drivers charged with a first offense DWI/DUI in New York face no minimum incarceration required, but do have the potential of being sentenced to incarceration for up to one year pending the case-specific nature of their case. All DWI/DUI convictions, including first offenses, require use of ignition interlock device in New York. Fines for a first time offense range from $500 to $1000 (or between $1,000 and $2500 if BAC is over .18). Convictions of DWI/DUI can influence future DWI/DUI arrests, and the subsequent charges and sentences, for a period of five (5) years.

Getting Legal Help New York DWI Law expressly bars reduction of DWI/DUI charges into lesser criminal offenses as a plea option. However, defendants in a first offense DWI/DUI case in New York still have significant opportunities, pending use of legal counsel and the case-specific nature of the charges, to negotiate favorable plea agreement terms or obtain dismissal of charges. For more information and insight, consult The Law Office of Joel Salinger, P.C.

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