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Should I Seek a Plea Bargain For My DUI Case?

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a dangerous crime that can result in an accident, serious injury, and even death. The penalties for a drunk driving conviction are designed to match the severity of the crime. For someone facing charges related to a DUI, a plea bargain may seem like their best or only option. While there are both pros and cons to accepting a plea bargain, not every case is eligible for one in New York. Speak to a New City DWI defense attorney for more information on plea bargains and to learn if accepting one is the right move for you.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI in New York?

If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher or while impaired by a drug you could face harsh penalties. A conviction will likely yield the following consequences.

  • First offense: Fines of $500 to $1,000, up to 1 year of incarceration, license revocation of 6 months or longer
  • Second offense: Fines of $1,000 to $5,000, up to 4 years of incarceration, license revocation of 1 year or longer
  • Third offense: Fines of $2,000 to $10,000, up to 7 years of incarceration, license revocation of 1 year or longer

Any conviction can be accompanied by probation, mandatory community service, restitution, mandatory enrollment in drug and alcohol education programs, and more. Because the fines and jail time can be so steep many people choose to accept a plea bargain if and when it is offered to them.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Plea Bargain?

The advantages and disadvantages of a plea bargain will vary depending on the case. It may be in some defendants’ best interest to accept a deal while others may have a better chance at winning if the case goes to trial.


  • It can be mutually beneficial. The prosecutor will be happy that they were able to secure a conviction and some charges while the defendant will be glad that they could avoid the full extent of the DUI penalties.
  • The defendant can have reduced penalties and charges meaning the incident will not have as severe of an effect on their everyday life. They can avoid lengthy jail time and the stigma of having a DUI on their record.
  • Defendants may also wish to avoid a public trial. It can be embarrassing or distressing knowing that it is an open court.
  • By accepting a plea deal the defendant and prosecutor are able to resolve the issue much faster and with less money spent than with a trial.


  • It is important to note that just because the prosecutor and defendant agree to the plea deal does not mean that the judge will. Ultimately the judge is the only authority that can issue rulings and sentences. If they do not find the agreement appropriate they may reject the plea.
  • You have to plead guilty to some crime when accepting a plea deal. It can be difficult to plead guilty to something that you did not do or are not willing to admit.
  • By accepting the plea you are waiving your right to a trial. There is always a possibility that you could be found not guilty if the case did go to trial. You could be accepting penalties when you could have avoided them entirely.
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