Lebedin Kofman LLP

Are There Alternative Programs For First-Time Offenders?


The Kind Of Programs Available To You Would Vary Based On Which Court Hears The Case

It is important to know the landscape of where the case was is heard. In Manhattan, for example, there are no alternative programs available for someone who is arrested on DWI since they are generally very strict on these types of cases. They want you to take a misdemeanor conviction if you were above a 0.14, which is why I end up going to trial on a lot of these cases and fighting them.

However, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island do have certain programs available for first time offenders or sometimes even a second. This would be for cases where the conviction would have a very bad effect on your job or ability to earn a living.

You Might End Up With BACtrack Or An Ankle Bracelet

We could also get you a two-step conditional plea; meaning you would have to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and then have to participate in a program. You would then either have to wear an ankle bracelet for three or six months to monitor your alcohol levels, or you would have a keychain called a BACtrack which you would have to breathe into a couple of times a day to show you were not consuming alcohol.

TASC Monitoring

You may also get TASC monitoring for which you would have to come in once a week to give a urine test to prove you were not consuming alcohol. It can sometimes get even more intensive with the AEP, Alcohol Education Program and DDP, Drinking Driving Program.

Ignition Interlock Devices

You might need to install the interlock ignition system for six months to a year to show you are committed and you understand you made a mistake,

If you behave yourself, you may be allowed to come back so that the misdemeanor would get erased and you would be left with just a violation.

Lebedin Kofman LLP

Russ Kofman is a founding partner in Lebedin Kofman LLP. He has extensive litigation experience defending clients accused of felonies, misdemeanors and DWI/ DUI crimes.

Attending Rehabilitative Programs Can Help Reduce Penalties

People who end up going through these programs generally have a much better understanding and appreciation for why this should never happen again and why they should stay out of trouble; as compared to the prosecutor’s approach or perspective that no, they did not need these types of programs, and that you had to take a misdemeanor because your reading was above a 0.14.

These people may end up taking a misdemeanor conviction, but they would not have anywhere near the appreciation as someone who ended up wearing an ankle bracelet so they could monitor their alcohol levels for six months. Or someone who ended up doing that and having to install an ignition interlock and then paying for both, because they would both be expensive.

It is a hassle to go to classes a couple of times a week and then come back to court every couple of months because the case drags on for a year, which is why someone who had to go through all of this process would really never want to do it again.

Unfortunately, these options are not offered in all counties. However, it would still be a possibility provided your attorney could make a compelling argument for you, which is something we are oftentimes able to do for clients.

I recently handled a case where I was able to get a conditional plea for a client who had an alcohol reading of 0.21 and he had gotten into a head-on collision in his car. We were able to get him into a program where he had to wear an ankle bracelet for six months and he got a TASC monitoring.

He had to come into TASC for urinalysis once a week, and then after approximately a year of monitoring, we were able to come back and were able to get him a violation where he had no criminal record.

These are things that should be taken into consideration and this is why it is important to know the landscape of where you were waging the battle.

An Experienced Attorney Can Often Have Charges Reduced Or Dismissed

We are often able to get reductions in charges for our clients, and in my practice it is extremely rare for my client to end up pleading guilty to what they were initially charged with. I take this practice very seriously and I take my client’s lives very seriously.

Our business is based off of referrals so it would be impossible to ever find a client who would say that I did not fight my heart out to try to get them the absolute best possible deal. I tell my clients that we want to be their lawyers for life and we want to handle everything they need as they move forward.

I also do this for other attorneys who work for me who handle a lot of different practice areas. It would be very rare for one of my clients to plead guilty to a crime or be convicted of the crime they were charged with.

If you do go to trial, you will do so based on an understanding that you have a very good chance, and this decision will be made together with the client. Of course, it would ultimately be the client’s decision, but we will lay out all the possibilities for them and fight like crazy at the trial. We do our very best to get the client a dismissal of all charges.

For more information on Alternative Programs And Getting Charges And Penalties Reduced, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (212) 500-3273 today.

Lebedin Kofman LLP

Russ Kofman is a founding partner in Lebedin Kofman LLP. He has extensive litigation experience defending clients accused of felonies, misdemeanors and DWI/ DUI crimes.

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