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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23164
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My sister got a dwi in 2011 and got another one today. She

Customer Question

My sister got a dwi in 2011 and got another one today. She took a breathalyzer on sight and another 2 hours later and blew a .08 the second time. I have to meet her at the court. I don't know do I need to bring a lawyer and will I need to provide bail or will they just release her. Also what can we expect to happen from here on out as far as the charge. I am in mineola new york
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.


A second DWI would be a felony offense in NYS. However, if the breathalyzer result showed .08, precisely at the legal limit, the prosecutor may be willing to eventually reduce the charge to the impaired. A second impaired would be a misdemeanor offense.

If today is her arraignment and she is a jail case, a public defender should be assigned to do her arraignment. In that way, if you cannot retain a lawyer on very short notice to appear for your sister, she'll still come before the judge. When you get to the courtroom, ask a court officer to point out the public defenders and you can ask them the name of the lawyer assigned to handle your sister's arraignment. Let the lawyer know you're there for her and you're the defendant's sister and you can ask about the bail possibilities.

When she comes before the judge the state may or may not agree to her relase. If they ask for bail, her lawyer would be able to argue for her release. Judges like to know a person has ties to the community, which is why it's a good thing for you to let the court know that your sister has family who cares enough to come to court.

I can't tell for sure whether they will release her or not. That's based on her personal and criminal record, the strength of the state's case, the defendant's ties to the community and the possibility of her being a flight risk. Typically, however, on a charge like this, most judges would release her unless she had a warrant history or some other reason which would make the judge believe that if released she wouldn't come back to court.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Should I bring a lawyer, I don't have much money, do you think the public defender is sufficient? And how much do you think the bail would be if there was one
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

Yes, I think a public defender is sufficient for a DWI arraignment. From there, if she can afford a lawyer, she'll be expected to bring one.

I do not know what the bail will be or if there will be a bond alternative. There are no specific guidelines for bail in NYS. The judge has the discretion to set whatever he feels is reasonable, and I listed the factors above that he considers in his determination. Some judges are much tougher on DWIs than others and set heavy bail as a deterrent.

I would expect your sister to be released unless the facts of the case are ugly -- a young child in the car, a deadly accident, a warrant history. If bail is high there would typically be a bond alternative where you could bail her out. I have seen bail in the $10 K range for a felony DWI, but again you'd only need 10% or so with a bondsman to secure release if there's a bond alternative.

You will want to let the public defender know how much bail you can afford and he or she will incorporate that into her argument to convince the judge to set a reasonable amount if he is not inclined to release her.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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