Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 25, 2020

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Why shouldn’t someone try to defend themselves in a DWI conviction in New York? After all, it’s a relatively minor infraction, right? Absolutely not, according New York DWI lawyer, Elliot Schlissel, who says that defending yourself in a DWI mater can cost you much more than just your license.

Don’t make the mistake of a lifetime

New York attorney Elliot Schlissel has been representing clients in all of New York’s boroughs and those who live on Long Island for over 30 years. He says that whether you live in New York, Nassau, Suffolk or a surrounding county, in almost every situation with someone who’s charged with a DWI, when they first appear in front of a judge, the judge will tell them,’It is in your interest to obtain an attorney.’ He explained:

The reason for that is a judge has an obligation to advise someone of their right to counsel when they are facing incarceration. DWIs can result in going to jail for one year or longer. It can result in loss of your driver’s license and loss of employment.

A DWI conviction can also result in forfeiture of your car. Many counties in the State of New York have car forfeiture statutes as an additional penalty. If convicted of a DWI, you can have your car forfeited’ even if you owe $10,000, $15,000 or more on your car. It is taken away from you. You still have the financial obligations to pay back the loan, but you don’t have the car.

He says that a New York DWI’s consequences are so drastic that one should never deal with a criminal charge such as Driving While Intoxicated without being represented by counsel. In fact, he told us that doing so is the mistake of a lifetime.

How do most DWI attorneys get paid in New York?

Schlissel says that his firm charges a set fee depending on the level of the offense, the prior criminal record of the individual, whether there’s an accident involved and how much alcohol was in their system. However, he also says that everyone has a right to counsel in these situations and some may qualify for counsel through the Legal Aid system if they are indigent.