My question involves criminal law for the state of: New York
Hello. The other day after my best friend's wedding I was pulled over for going 75 in a 55. The officer asked me if I'd had anything to drink and I said I had. He performed field sobriety tests and said I failed them. I was taken to his building and admitted to drinking, and admitted sitting in my car for a while before driving because I knew I was too drunk. I said I'd had four full glasses of wine at the wedding. I submitted to two breathalyzers, but for some reason neither of them worked. I was taken to the hospital for a blood test, but when I got there I started panicking and declined to have them take blood. I am now charged with 'common law' DWI and speeding.
Back in the summer of 2003 I had a DWAI conviction. Because it was not a DWI, this new charge is being considered a first DWI offense.
But after talking with a lawyer I'm told that the prior DWAI means that the prosecutor is highly unlikely to plea me down to a DWAI.
At this point, my main concern is making sure I stay out of jail. My brother cannot afford rent for he and his two children without me paying my half of everything. He didn't do anything wrong here, and I don't want the fact that he decided to depend on me to end up derailing his life. He works very hard and does not deserve that.
I will answer for what I've done. It was one of the worst decisions I've ever made, especially considering I was too selfish at the time to consider how my getting a DWI would affect my brother and his children. The sad part is, I took steps beforehand to make sure I wouldn't be in a position to want to drive. My friend (the groom) had me set up to stay at his friend's B&B, but I didn't find out until arriving that those plans had fell through. He said we'd take care of it after the reception, but after the reception was winding down I didn't like the idea of him having to take time away from his wife and everyone to help me get set up with a hotel, so I told him I'd take care of it. I should have just given my keys to a total stranger if need be -- or thrown my keys into the woods. Anything to not have ended up sitting in my car, cold, convincing myself that I'd 'probably be okay'. I was in a great mood, and feeling like nothing could go wrong I guess. Dumb. Dumb.
So now, aside from losing my license for a year, having to pay $750 (?) for refusing the blood test, probably having to pay to attend some sort of classes or for treatment, as well as paying various court fees and charges, as well as the speeding ticket -- I am of course terrified that I will have to go to jail for this -- and who knows for how long. The first lawyer I talked with said that jail time is unlikely, but I don't know what to do. He wants $4,000 by this Friday, which I absolutely can't afford. Now the public defender's office told me in a conversation today that based on her conversation with me, I make too much money to qualify for the public defender, but that I should fill out the application and send it back anyway -- just in case.
I make about $1,200 a month, but because I just helped my brother buy a car, and because we're getting ready to move into our new place together in a few weeks, I don't have money for a lawyer. I can borrow about $1,000 from family, and I could probably sell all of my music equipment, but all together all I can really afford is $2,000 and I probably won't have it all up front. I did sign up with a temp agency to try to pick up additional work, so maybe if I can afford a lawyer that will take some of the money up front and some in month or so then I can get actual representation, otherwise I might have to represent myself, which seems extraordinarily stupid since I have very little knowledge of the law.
I guess if I knew there wasn't going to be any jail time I would just plead guilty to the DWI. I don't even know that if I get a lawyer I can afford whether the lawyer would be able to make sure I don't go to jail if that's what the prosecutor wants.
Can anyone tell me the likelihood I'll get jail time for a first offense DWI with a prior DWAI nine years ago? The fact that I was speeding doesn't help I'm sure. I'm just terrified of jail, and really worried about how all of this will affect my brother.