The Nassau County Probation Department reports that more than 3900 DWI arrests were made in 2009. Drilling down into the specifics on these arrests, 250 drunken driving arrests were for felony DWI. Drugged driving arrests accounted for nearly 10 percent of all DWIs in 2009 at 349 arrests. 213 of the drivers pulled over were arrested for Driving While Ability Impaired - while they were not considered legal intoxicated, their ability to drive was impaired.
Based on records from prior years, it is estimated that one-third (about 1300) of these arrests will result in Driving While Ability Impaired convictions - this typically occurs when a DWI charge is plea-bargained down to the lesser offense of DWAI or where the intoxication evidence is insufficient to convict a defendant of DWI.
Of the remained 2600 arrestees, about 1400 will be sentenced to probation.
Conditional Discharge is an Alternative to Jail Time or Probation
Of the remaining 1200, about 600 to 800 will be sentenced to conditional discharges (CDs). Conditional discharge is ordered when a judge believes that neither jail time nor probation would be appropriate for the defendant.
Normally conditional discharge requires the defendant to remain law-abiding and to participate in a rehabilitative program (like anger management, alcohol responsibility, and parenting classes) for a specific amount of time. These offenders historically have no prior criminal records, no aggravating circumstances, and low BAC readings (less than .13). Because they are low-risk offenders, it is expected that they will comply with the discharge terms.
The remaining 400 arrestees, or about 10 percent, will be sentenced to jail time.
According to the Nassau County Probation Department, less than one percent of DWI charges will result in dismissal or acquittal.
If you have questions about conditional discharge or other criminal defense questions after a DWI charge, contact an experienced DWI defense attorney.