Archive for the ‘ DUI/DWI ’ Category

Are DWI Checkpoints Legal In New York?

Posted on: October 19, 2017 by in DUI/DWI
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DWI arrests in New York surge during the holidays – yes, it’s that time again – because more DWI checkpoints are conducted by police agencies throughout the state. If you drive in New York, keep reading. You’re about to find out how DWI checkpoints are conducted and what your rights are at a checkpoint.

At New York’s DWI checkpoints, drivers may be briefly detained by the police, questioned, and sometimes breath-tested for driving while intoxicated. The police need a “reasonable cause” to stop motorists in traffic, so you may ask how it can be that DWI checkpoints – also called DUI or sobriety checkpoints – are legal.

DWI checkpoints are legal simply because the U.S. Supreme Court allows police agencies to operate the checkpoints as an exception to the law. In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that a state’s obligation to keep the public safe takes priority a driver’s constitutional right to privacy, provided that a checkpoint’s intrusion on the right to privacy is minimal and reasonable.

WHAT ARE THE RULES WHEN THE POLICE CONDUCT DWI CHECKPOINTS?

In the Supreme Court’s judgment, police officers at DWI checkpoints do not conduct “unreasonable” searches and seizures, so they don’t violate anyone’s rights. Nevertheless, to operate legally, a DWI checkpoint must adhere to some strict rules. If police officers at a DWI checkpoint violate the law – or violate a motorist’s legal rights – in any way, any DWI charge arising from the incident will probably be dismissed.

Since the ruling in 1990, DWI checkpoints have been legal, but the matter remains controversial. In fact, a number of states have no checkpoints either because state legislatures have outlawed them or because state courts have found that the checkpoints violate state constitutions. However, the only state near to New York that does not conduct sobriety checkpoints is Rhode Island. So even if you live in Connetticut, a Connecticut DWI Attorney can help.

What are the rules for a DWI checkpoint in New York? What should you do if you are stopped at a DWI checkpoint? What should you do if you are arrested and charged with DWI? And what can happen if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated in New York? If you drive in New York, you need to know.

WHY ARE DWI CHECKPOINTS PUBLICIZED IN ADVANCE?

One rule for DWI checkpoints is that the police agency conducting the operation must make a proactive and diligent attempt to notify motorists regarding when and where a checkpoint will be conducted. Sufficient advance publicity is thought to increase a checkpoint’s deterrent impact while reducing the imposition on the privacy rights of innocent motorists.

The state courts in New York have also determined that police officers at DWI checkpoints must comply with the following guidelines so that no motorist’s search and seizure rights are overlooked or violated:

  • A DWI checkpoint must serve a clear purpose.
  • No officer may violate a motorist’s privacy beyond a reasonable degree.
  • Motorist safety must be a priority. Sufficient lighting is required, and warning signs must be posted.
  • Police officers may not detain a motorist for an unreasonable length of time.
  • Police officers must choose the drivers they stop by using an entirely random method. No profiling of any kind is allowed.
  • A police supervisor must be on the scene to supervise the operation.

If your rights are violated in any way at a DWI checkpoint in Westchester County or anywhere else in New York, it is imperative for you to speak with an experienced Westchester County DWI attorney. If you are charged with DWI after a violation of your rights, your attorney can ask the judge to dismiss the charge. If a significant violation of your rights occurred, that’s what the judge will probably do.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE STOPPED AT A DWI CHECKPOINT?

It’s more likely to happen over the holidays, but whenever you are driving on a street or highway in New York, you might drive into a DWI checkpoint. Of course, any time you are approached or stopped by the police, be calm and polite, but protect your rights.

Here are some suggestions if you are stopped at a DWI checkpoint:

  • Stay seated. Roll the window down. After dark, flip on the interior light.
  • Then place your hands atop the steering wheel where they’re clearly seen.
  • Be sure that you can quickly access your vehicle’s insurance information and registration.
  • Never admit or confess anything. If you are asked, “Have you been drinking?” politely say something like, “Officer, I would prefer to exercise my right to remain silent.”

If the law enforcement officers who conduct a DWI checkpoint detain a motorist, they must have a reasonable belief that the motorist is intoxicated. Their reasonable suspicions cannot be mere hunches but must be based on something like a driver’s slurred speech or bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol or marijuana, open containers, or some other tangible indication of impairment.

If the police detain you and ask you to take a “preliminary breath test,” but they have not arrested you, you are not legally required to take the breath test. The problem is that if you refuse to test, you’ll probably be arrested, and then a breathalyzer test – if requested – is required by law. Refusal to test after you’ve been arrested is a separate charge in New York, and it’s punishable upon conviction with a fine of $500 and a driver’s license suspension for one year.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR A DWI CONVICTION?

A first offense for driving while intoxicated is usually charged as a misdemeanor in New York. A first DWI conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $500 to $1,000, or both, along with three years of probation and a six-month driver’s license revocation. Offenders also pay a fee to aid crime victims and an additional surcharge. The costs pile up.

And DWI isn’t the only charge related to drinking and driving in New York. The “legal limit” is a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent, but a motorist may be charged with DWAI (driving while ability impaired) with a BAC level measuring 0.05 to 0.07 percent. While it’s an “infraction” rather than a criminal offense, a DWAI conviction is punishable by up to fifteen days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

What’s the best way to deal with driving under the influence in New York? That’s the one answer that’s easy: Don’t Drink and Drive. Take a taxi, use a rideshare app, or crash on a friend’s sofa, but don’t drink and drive. If you make a judgment error and you’re arrested – or if you’re falsely accused of DWI and you’re innocent – take no chances with your future and your freedom. Arrange at once to speak with an experienced Westchester County DWI attorney.

An Overview Of New York’s Drunk Driving Laws

Posted on: March 24, 2017 by in DUI/DWI
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The state of New York has been prosecuting drivers for DWI for over a century. In fact, New York passed the nation’s first drunk driving law back in 1910. Since that time, the laws governing intoxicated driving in this state have expanded and grown quite complicated. While this is a general look at New York’s drunk driving laws, if you are charged with any crime related to driving and drinking, you’ll need to obtain the specific legal advice pertinent to your own circumstances by discussing your case with an experienced Westchester County DWI attorney.

In the state of New York, DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated,” and it’s the legal term for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or other intoxicating drugs. A number of laws in New York govern intoxicated driving, and the charges available to prosecutors include “standard” DWI, “aggravated” DWI, and “DWAI” or “driving while ability impaired.” Knowing what these charges mean and how prosecutors use them is important if you drive in New York, because the penalties for each of these charges are substantially different.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR “STANDARD” DWI?

If you drive anywhere in New York after consuming alcohol, and if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level measures at 0.08 percent or higher, you can be charged and prosecuted for “standard” DWI. The penalties for a first-offense driving while intoxicated conviction can include a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail, or both, and a driver’s license revocation for at least six months.

A second standard DWI offense within ten years of the first conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to four years behind bars, and a driver’s license revocation for at least a year. The 0.08 percent legal limit applies to most adult drivers age 21 and above, but for drivers under 21, the legal limit is 0.02 percent, and for drivers operating with a CDL (commercial driver’s license) the legal limit is also 0.02 percent.

WHAT IS “AGGRAVATED” DWI AND WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?

However, if you are driving in New York and your BAC level is measured at 0.18 percent or higher – more than double the legal limit – you can be charged with “aggravated” DWI. The penalties for a first-offense aggravated DWI conviction can include a fine of up to $2,500, up to a year in jail, or both, and a driver’s license revocation for at least a year. A second aggravated DWI offense within ten years of the first conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to four years behind bars, and a driver’s license revocation for at least eighteen months.

WHAT IS DWAI?

DWAI – driving while ability impaired – can be charged in two ways in New York: driving while ability impaired by alcohol and driving while ability impaired by drugs. When a driver’s BAC level measures from 0.05 percent to 0.07 percent, DWAI can be charged. Although DWAI by alcohol is considered a traffic infraction rather than a crime, the penalties for a conviction are similar to the penalties for DWI. (DWAI by drugs is considered a crime, as explained below.)

A conviction for a first DWAI by alcohol is punishable by up to fifteen days in jail, a fine of up to $500 (plus a mandatory $260 “surcharge”), or both, and a mandatory ninety-day driver’s license suspension. To be convicted for DWAI by alcohol, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a driver was impaired. This is often difficult when the defendant’s BAC level measured below 0.08 percent, so anyone charged with DWAI by alcohol should seek the legal advice and services of an experienced Westchester County DWI attorney.

DWAI by drugs is the charge when a driver is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating drugs other than alcohol. DWAI by drugs is a criminal offense which comes with much more serious penalties than DWAI by alcohol. A first conviction for DWAI by drugs is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail, or both, and a driver’s license suspension for at least six months. A second DWAI by drugs conviction within ten years of the first conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to four years behind bars, and a driver’s license revocation for at least one year.

CAN I REFUSE A BREATHALYZER TEST?

Implied consent is the law in New York, so you cannot refuse a breathalyzer examination. Simply by driving in this state, you have already legally consented to submit to a breathalyzer test (or to a blood or urine test) to measure your blood alcohol content level if asked to do so by a police officer in this state. If you refuse to be tested, you can be fined $500, and your driver’s license will be revoked for at least a year. For commercial drivers, the fine for refusal to test is $550 and the license revocation period is eighteen months.

A second refusal to test within a five-year period or any DWI charge within the previous five years increases the minimum penalties for refusal to test to a $750 fine and a mandatory eighteen-month driver’s license revocation. Commercial drivers who refused a chemical test or were charged with a DWI offense within the past five years can have their commercial driver’s license revoked for life.

DWI charges can be challenged in the state of New York, often successfully. If you simply plead guilty, you will be convicted and you will probably be sentenced to at least the minimum penalties. Additionally, you will have a conviction on your criminal record, your automobile insurance rates will increase substantially, and if driving is essential to your work, you may have difficulty keeping or finding employment.

On the other hand, an experienced Westchester County DWI attorney can often have a DWI charge reduced or completely dismissed. When the evidence against a DWI defendant is overwhelming and a conviction is unavoidable, the right DWI attorney can still work on the defendant’s behalf for alternative sentencing or a reduction of the penalties. Finally – as everyone really knows – all of this legal trouble can be avoided entirely when drivers adhere to one basic piece of advice – Don’t Drink and Drive.

DWI Penalties For First Offense in New York

Posted on: September 7, 2015 by in DUI/DWI
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If you are interested in New York and charged with DWI, get in touch with a Westchester County DWI attorney immediately. Don’t neglect getting legal help, and don’t assume that the law will go soft on you because this the first time you have been arrested.

Even a first-time conviction for DWI (driving while intoxicated) can land you in jail for up to a year in the state of New York. Penalties for a first offense D.W.I. can include fines from $500 to $1,000, up to a year in jail, up to three years of probation, and a “driver responsibility assessment” fee for three years. In addition to the fine following a conviction, most motorists must also pay a mandatory surcharge and a mandatory fee for assistance to crime victims. Not including the fine, the additional surcharge and fee may total hundreds of dollars or more. Along with these penalties, your driver’s license may be revoked for six months; however, in some situations you may be approved for a conditional driving permit (for driving to and from work, school, and court-ordered obligations). If you are charged with DWI in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, get immediate legal help from an experienced Peekskill DWI defense attorney.

A good New York D.W.I. defense attorney will assess the details of your case and dispute the state’s evidence against you. Chemical test results can be challenged in court; so can the testimony of the arresting officer. In some first-offense cases, a prosecutor may offer to reduce a D.W.I. charge to driving while ability impaired (DWAI) if the offender’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of the arrest was under 0.13 percent, if the offender cooperated by submitting to a breath exam, and if no accident or injury occurred. Penalties for a first offense-DWAI may include fines from $300 to $500, up to 15 days in jail, a 90-day driver’s license suspension, and the yearly driver responsibility fee for three years.

If you are arrested for a second or third D.W.I. offense, the penalties become even more severe. If you have been arrested a second time for DWI within a period of ten years, you could face felony charges. Penalties for a D.W.I. the second time around could include fines of between $1000 and $4000, and a sentence of four years in jail. You could lose your license for one year. If you are convicted of a second D.W.I. within five years, however, you face up to seven years in jail.

It would be a big mistake to assume that the penalties for DWI will be mild, because it’s the very first time that you have been arrested for DWI. If you’re facing a DWI or DWAI charge anywhere in the Peekskill area, you need the counsel and help of an experienced New York DWI defense attorney who can clarify your options, defend your rights, and guide you through the legal system. If you face any DWI charge in the Peekskill area or anywhere in the region, protect yourself, your freedom, and your driver’s license. Contact an experienced Peekskill DWI defense attorney at once.

“DWI-Proof” Cars By 2020?

Posted on: June 19, 2015 by in DUI/DWI
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Despite our wishes and efforts, it’s probably going to be impossible to keep every dangerous driver from ever getting behind the wheel of an automobile. No matter what the lawmakers and the courts do, it’s inevitable that a few dangerous drivers will fall between the cracks of the criminal justice system, especially those drivers who make the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

Thousands are arrested, charged, and convicted of DWI every year in the United States, and most first offenders never become second-time offenders. Nevertheless, about 10,000 people in the U.S. lose their lives every year in alcohol-related traffic accidents, so there’s now a big push to make vehicles “DWI-proof” to prevent further tragedies. As farfetched as it sounds to make a vehicle “DWI-proof”, the technology is already available, so this could become a reality much sooner than first expected. For now, if you are charged with DWI in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, arrange at once to consult with an experienced Peekskill DWI defense lawyer.

Researchers and engineers with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety have actually been working on a DWI-proof vehicle since 2008, and many believe that DWI-proof cars will be on sale in the U.S. by 2020. In June, the Department of Transportation showed journalists two of the systems now in development. One system is “breath-based” and is comparable to an interlock ignition device. Drivers would have to blow into the device to start their cars. If the breathalyzer reveals that they have drank too much alcohol to get behind the wheel, the engine will not start and the driver will have to find another way home. A “touch-based” technology is also being developed. The system uses sensors to determine a driver’s intoxication level by scanning just below the skin of a driver’s hands and fingers.

Although this technology would greatly reduce the number of dangerous drivers on the road, it’s not perfect. Breath-based cars could easily be manipulated if the driver asks a friend to blow into the device in order to get it to start. Drivers could do the same with touch-based cars, too. If a driver is determined to get behind the wheel, it’s difficult to imagine that either one of these technologies could get in their way. Still, if these technologies were used on cars today, they would be a step in the right direction to put an end to drunk driving.

In our lifetimes, technology is making breathtaking advances, and very soon, the annual number of fatalities in alcohol-related accidents will drop dramatically if these technologies are implemented and offered to the public. “Blowing” to start your car will probably be nothing unusual in another decade. But right now, if you’re charged with DWI in the Peekskill area or anywhere in New York, arrange to consult promptly with our experienced Peekskill DWI defense lawyers. The consequences of a DWI conviction are very serious, so you should not wait to contact an experienced attorney.

Still Too Many DWI Deaths

Posted on: June 8, 2015 by in DUI/DWI
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If you thought that the most DWI-related fatalities in the state of New York would be in Manhattan or the Bronx, you’d be wrong. St. Lawrence County in rural upstate New York had the highest rate of DWI-related deaths in the state over a five-year period, according to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Manhattan, in fact, had one of the lowest rates of DWI-related deaths, as did Westchester County and the Bronx. From 2009 to 2013, DWI-related traffic collisions resulted in 1,715 fatalities in the state of New York.

The truth is, while some drivers are wrongfully accused of drunk driving, there really is no excuse for actually driving while intoxicated. In 2013, the most recent year that statistics are available, 362 people died in New York in DWI-related crashes. That’s 362 people too many. Most if not all of those deaths were preventable. Still, thousands are charged with DWI in New York every year, and the overwhelming majority of those charged are either innocent or simply drivers who made a bad decision in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Most first-time DWI offenders “get the message” and do not become repeat offenders.

Some people wrongly assume that if they have never been charged with a DWI before, the penalties will not be severe. However, that is not the case. Even a first time conviction for DWI can land you in jail for up to a year in the state of New York. Penalties for a first offense DWI can include fines from $500 to $1,000, up to a year in jail, up to three years of probation, and a “driver responsibility assessment” fee for the next three years. The penalties for repeat offenders become even more severe than these first time offender consequences. In addition to these penalties, you may also have your driver’s license revoked for six months. However, in some situations you may be approved for a conditional driving permit. This permit will allow you to legally drive to and from work or school so you can still earn an income and pursue an education while you are waiting to have your driver’s license reinstated. However, a conditional license is never a guarantee, so you should not count on being granted one if you are convicted of a DWI and have your license revoked.

If you are charged with DWI in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, you are going to need high-quality legal help fast. Contact an experienced Peekskill DWI defense attorney as quickly as possible for the sound legal advice and representation that you’ll need. If you are charged with DWI, do not try to act as your own attorney. Exercise your right to remain silent, be as polite as possible – even apologetic – and insist on your right to have a DUI attorney present during any questioning. Then contact our experienced Peekskill DWI defense attorneys immediately. Help is here if you are accused of driving while intoxicated, but you must take the first step and make the call.

Underage DWI Is Serious

Posted on: May 1, 2015 by in DUI/DWI
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If your teenager is convicted of DWI in New York, your teen will not only lose his or her driving privilege. Your teenager may also face genuine obstacles to higher education and good employment. An arrest, however, doesn’t automatically mean a conviction. If your teen is arrested for DWI in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, you’ll need to get legal help at once by contacting an experienced Peekskill DWI defense attorney.

Unlike adults, minors do not have to be intoxicated to be charged with DWI in New York. Because the age limit for drinking is 21, New York is a “zero tolerance” state when it comes to minors and DWI. Any driver under 21 whose blood alcohol content level measures at 0.02 percent – just a trace of alcohol – can be prosecuted for DWI in New York. A teenager’s blood alcohol content level does not have to read above the 0.08 legal limit. If your teenager is convicted, along with a driver’s license suspension, your teen could serve time in custody, pay a fine as high as $1,000, and be ordered to use an ignition interlock device after the license suspension is lifted. An ignition interlock device is placed on the teen’s vehicle to prevent him or her from driving under the influence. Your teen will have to blow into the device in order to get the car to start. If there is any alcohol detected on your teen’s breath, then the engine will not start, and the authorities will be notified that your teen was trying to drive after drinking alcohol. However, if there is no trace of alcohol, the engine will start and the teen will be allowed to carry on driving.

If you are a parent, it’s imperative to talk with your teens frequently about the dangers of drinking and driving. It’s also important to understand that teens mimic adults, so if you are a parent and you are struggling with a drinking or a substance abuse issue, get help. Fewer than ten percent of New York’s licensed drivers are under 21, but underage drivers are involved in 14 percent of the DWI-related accidents that result in fatalities in this state. Minors who drink and drive are also involved in about 2,000 non-fatal accidents in New York every year.

Sometimes, teens feel that they are invincible or untouchable in the eyes of the law, and this is not the case. Even if you are a minor, you are not exempt from serious consequences if you are charged with a DWI in the state of New York. It’s important that parents teach their children that this is a serious crime with severe, long-lasting consequences.

If your teenager is arrested for DWI in Westchester County, put an experienced Peekskill DWI defense attorney on the case at once. If property damage, injuries, or fatalities are involved, the need for experienced, knowledgeable legal counsel is even more imperative. Let a Peekskill DWI lawyer fight on your teenager’s behalf, and after any DWI arrest, make the call as quickly as possible.

If You Drive For A Living, The DWI Rules Are Different

Posted on: March 25, 2015 by in DUI/DWI
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If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License in the state of New York, you are held to a higher standard regarding intoxicated driving. For commercial drivers, the “legal” blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.04 percent instead of the 0.08 percent limit imposed on most other drivers. If you are charged with DWI in Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, and if you are a commercial driver, arrange at once to discuss your case with an experienced Peekskill DWI lawyer.

Not only is the BAC limit lower for commercial drivers in New York, but the penalties are also higher. A commercial driver’s first conviction for DWI or DWAI (driving while ability-impaired) will result in a driver’s license revocation of at least a year. If the driver was intoxicated while transporting hazardous materials, the license revocation will last for three years. A second D.W.I. or DWAI conviction means a permanent license revocation for a commercial driver, although after ten years, the driver can request a waiver of the revocation. A third DWI or DWAI conviction for a commercial driver will result in a permanent license revocation with no exceptions.

Of course, if you are a commercial driver and you currently face a DWI charge, you may not be too concerned about the distant future, because right now your job is probably on the line. More than any other group of drivers, commercial drivers simply must avoid drinking and driving. A single conviction can land you in the unemployment line.

But, commercial drivers are not the only ones who need to be extra cautious when it comes to driving. Teachers are blamed for a lot of things, including crimes, and if you are a teacher accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York, you’re going to need legal help right away. In Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, or Rockland County, contact an experienced Peekskill D.W.I. defense attorney immediately.

In the state of New York, when a teacher is charged with DWI or other crimes, the State Education Department will be notified. The Department’s Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA) then informs your employer. Your teaching license could be revoked depending on the details and the outcome of your DWI case. If you are a teacher charged with DWI, make sure you that consult with a knowledgeable DWI defense lawyer before making any statements, signing any documents, or accepting any plea agreements.

Apart from your professional concerns, legal penalties for a first-offense DWI in New York can include fines from $500 to $1,000, up to a year in jail and three years of probation, a yearly $250 “driver responsibility assessment” fee for three years, and attendance at a victim-impact panel. Along with these penalties, your driver’s license may be revoked for six months, and your auto insurance rates will rise.

In the Peekskill area, if you’re a commercial driver or a teacher, and you’ve been arrested and charged with DWI, contact an experienced Peekskill D.W.I. lawyer immediately, and get the legal advice and representation you are going to need. Your attorney needs to be on the case as early as possible, so don’t wait to make the call.

 

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