A 56-year-old Ravena resident pleaded guilty to a felony DWI charge in Albany County Court on Feb. 4. The defendant reportedly drove 82 mph in a 55 mph work zone before he was arrested in September of 2013.
Officers reported that the driver displayed visible signs of intoxication as they interviewed him. Police administered several field sobriety tests, which the defendant failed. After he was taken into custody, a test revealed a BAC level of .17, which is more than two times the New York state limit of .08. According to a spokeswoman for the district attorney, the defendant has prior alcohol-related offenses, including a 2003 conviction for felony DWI.
When he is sentenced on April 1, he will face 10 months in jail in Albany county plus a $1,000 fine, a one-year license suspension and five years of felony probation. The prosecution of the case is being handled by the Bureau Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Unit.
The man may have pleaded guilty in an attempt to plea bargain for a lower sentence. There are several reasons why a defendant might choose a plea deal over going to trial.
One reason is that there is always a risk inherent in a trial. A defendant may be found guilty by a judge or jury and then subjected to the maximum penalties allowed by state law. If a defendant does not wish to take that risk, a plea deal can be a way to avoid a trial.
In many ways, a plea deal is simply a negotiation. The prosecution may offer some concessions, such as dropped charges or reduced penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. Through negotiations, the defense and prosecution may arrive at an agreement that both sides can accept.