Under David Soares, the Albany District Attorney's office has adopted some very severe policies for DWI cases. In many cases the only offer from the DA will be for the defendant to plead guilty - which is not really an offer. This is in sharp contrast to other counties where plea bargaining is possible.
Soares implemented a formal policy on this in the spring of 2008. Now, late in 2008, the Soares office is trying to get even "tougher" - seeking forfeiture of the car involved in the DWI offense. I put tougher in quotes because tough is a popular perception but not really the right word.
As a result of these supposedly tough policies, it now rarely makes sense for the defendant to take any kind of deal. More and more cases are being fought. The side of this that makes it foolish is that the DA loses a lot of DWI cases. The volume of cases was already a problem before these policies. Now it is just too difficult for the prosecutors to keep track of all their cases. Both they and the police make a lot of mistakes, and this means a greater number of DWI defendants are winning their cases.
The good old days of plea bargaining were better for public safety. Defendants accepted plea bargains and that got them into treatment. The "plead guilty" approach to DWI is bad for everyone - except of course for defense lawyers who make more money by fighting the cases.