An NYC DUI Attorney Who Develops Strategic Defenses for DUI Cases
Many people charged with a DUI offense have no prior experience with the criminal justice system. Being charged with a crime can be confusing, intimidating, and overwhelming. It’s easy to believe that if you get arrested for a DUI, then you will get a permanent criminal record. However, DUI cases have many issues that can make it difficult for the prosecution to prove their case, and great outcomes can often be obtained. NYC DUI attorney Cody Warner develops strategic defenses for his clients so they can obtain the best possible result.
An NYC DUI Attorney Explains the Various Drunk Driving Charges in New York
New York law refers to DUI offenses as “DWI,” which is short for “driving while intoxicated.” New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192 broadly prohibits driving while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs. Depending on the specifics of your arrest, you may be charged with one or several of the following offenses:
- Per-Se DWI (VTL 1192.2). This is the most common DWI charge and is charged when the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. It is sometimes referred to as “DWI per-se” because it is charged on the basis of your BAC and regardless of whether you are actually impaired by the alcohol. For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is .04% or higher if they are stopped while driving for work.
- Common Law DWI (VTL 1192.3). If you refuse to blow into a breathalyzer but the police still believe, based on their observations, that you are intoxicated and drove a vehicle, then you can be charged with the “common law” DWI.
- Driving while ability impaired by alcohol (VTL 1192.1). Even if the police don’t think that you are fully intoxicated by alcohol, you can be charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI) regardless of your blood alcohol content (BAC) if the police believe you are sufficiently impaired and unable to safely drive.
- Driving while ability impaired by drugs (VTL 1192.4). You can be charged with DWI if you are under the influence of drugs–whether illicit, over the counter, or prescription–and it impairs your ability to drive safely.
- Driving while ability impaired by combination of drugs and alcohol (VTL 1192.4-a). Combination-DWAI is charged when you are driving while under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.
- Aggravated DWI (VTL 1192.2-a).. You can be charged with aggravated DWI if your BAC is .18% or higher or you are driving with a passenger who is 15 years old or younger. Aggravated DWI carries much harsher penalties than a basic DWI charge.
- Underage DWI (VTL 1192-a). New York has a “zero tolerance” law, which prohibits drivers under the age of 21 from driving after having consumed any alcohol at all.
If you have been charged with a DWI charge, contact an experienced NYC DUI attorney to make sure your rights are protected and you get the best possible outcome.
The Consequences of a DUI Conviction in New York City
The specific DWI offense you have been charged with and your prior DWI history will determine the penalties you face if convicted. Your first alcohol-DWAI is an infraction, which is less serious than a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face the following:
- Up to 15 days in jail
- A fine of $300-$500
- Suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days
Subsequent Alcohol-DWAI charges become more serious:
- Second offense: 30 days in jail, fines between $500 and $750, and a 6-month revocation of your license.
- Third offense (charged as a misdemeanor): 180 days in jail, fines between $750 and $1,500, and a 6-month revocation of your license.
The penalties for DWI, Drug-DWAI, and Combination DWAI are as follows:
- First offense: up to 1 year in jail, fines between $500 an $1,000, and a 6-month revocation of your driver’s license.
- Second offense: 1 to 4 years in prison, fines between $1,000 and $5,000, and a 1-year revocation of your license.
- Third offense: 1 to 7 years in prison, fines between $2,000 and $10,000, and your license will be permanently revoked.
Second and third offenses are charged as felonies if you have a prior DWI conviction within the last ten years.
Many factors will impact your sentence and other penalties if you are convicted. An experienced NYC DUI attorney can assess your case to determine the best course of action for your case.
More than Just Jail and Fines
Even if you are able to avoid jail time and heavy fines, the consequences of a DUI conviction can create significant hardships. For example, your conviction may result in the following:
- Disciplinary proceedings for licensed professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants;
- Substantial increases in your car insurance premiums;
- Limitations on future career opportunities.
Simply having your license suspended for several months can make it difficult for you to get to work and take care of your family. An NYC DUI attorney can help minimize the consequences your DUI charge may have on your life.
Understanding New York’s Implied Consent Law
Many drivers are unaware that they are required to submit to a chemical test by operation of New York’s “implied consent” law. Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1194 requires drivers to submit to chemical testing conducted by the police without a warrant. Under the law, you have consented to testing by virtue of driving in New York state.
Chemical testing includes testing your breath, blood, saliva, or urine. These tests are typically performed at the police station and must be performed within two hours of your arrest. If the tests indicate that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can then be charged with DUI.
Under the implied consent law, you face serious consequences if you refuse either the breathalyzer or the chemical tests at the station:
- Your first refusal will automatically result in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license and a fine of $500:
- If it is your second refusal or you have been convicted of DUI within the last five years, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to 18 months, and you will face a fine of up to $750.
- If it is your third refusal or you have two DUI convictions within the last four years, your driver’s license will be permanently revoked.
These penalties are imposed in addition to whatever penalties you may face due to your DUI charge. If you refuse to take a test, an NYC DUI attorney can still help you resolve your charges and may be able to help get your license reinstated.
Your Breathalyzer Test Results Do Not Mean That You Are Guilty
Although a breathalyzer BAC result of .08% or higher can be demoralizing, breathalyzer test results aren’t always accurate. An experienced NYC DUI attorney can review the testing procedure used during your arrest to determine whether problems exist with the prosecution’s case.
Blood tests are the most accurate means of determining intoxication. However, they are somewhat rare in DUI cases. One reason is that they must be performed by a medical professional such as a doctor or nurse, although they can sometimes be performed by EMTs, phlebotomists, and similarly trained professionals. Another reason is that it can take days or weeks for the results from your test to become available.
Breath tests are the favored method of testing. They are simpler than blood tests and do not require the presence of a medical professional. Instead, they are administered by the police, and results are usually available within minutes. However, the device must be properly calibrated, and the person administering the test must be properly trained. Otherwise, the breath test will yield inaccurate results.
Urine tests are common in cases where the police suspect that you have been driving under the influence of drugs. This is because no breath test is available to determine the presence of drugs in your system. Similar to breath tests, the results of a urine test are available more quickly than a blood test. The issue is that drug metabolites can be detectable for weeks, meaning that the test does not prove that you were impaired at the time that you were pulled over.
All of these tests must be administered by trained professionals who must follow rigorous procedures. Mishandling samples or using faulty devices or testing materials will yield inaccurate results. When this happens, you may be able to get your DUI charge dismissed. An experienced NYC DUI attorney can review your case and determine whether your test results can be challenged.
An NYC DUI Attorney Explains Common Law VTL 1192.3 DWI Charges
The results from a chemical breath test can be key evidence that the prosecution uses to charge a person with “per-se” DWI under VTL 1192.2. However, in cases where a suspect did not blow into a breathalyzer, the prosecution can still charge a person with a “common law” DWU under VTL 1192.3.
With a “common law” DWI, the prosecution attempts to prove you were intoxicated while driving a vehicle by relying on the police officer’s observations of you when you were pulled over. These observations can include things such as:
- Erratic driving, such as weaving in and out of your lane or driving at inconsistent speeds;
- Driving too fast or driving too slow;
- Running red lights or stop signs;
- Your appearance and mannerisms when speaking to the officer; disheveled, glassy eyes, slurred speech, incoherent;
- The smell of alcohol on your breath or emanating from your vehicle;
- The smell of marijuana or other evidence of drug use;
- Failed field sobriety tests.
An officer’s testimony is not necessarily dispositive. A skilled NYC DUI attorney can challenge their testimony and raise the arguments such as:
- Traffic infractions alone are not evidence of intoxication;
- Other observations supported a conclusion of sobriety;
- Your appearance was caused by other factors such as illness or fatigue
- The officer’s reported observations are inconsistent with the observations of other officers
- Recorded video of you performing sobriety tests at the Intoxicated Driver Testing Unit shows you appearing sober;
- You have mobility issues or other physical limitations that made it difficult to perform the field sobriety tests correctly.
An NYC DUI attorney can determine what evidence the prosecution has against you, assess the strength of your case, and help determine the best legal strategy to pursue.
Field Sobriety Tests are Not Always Accurate
Everyone gets nervous when stopped by the police, even when they know they aren’t doing anything wrong. If you have had anything to drink, getting pulled over can cause extreme anxiety.
Field sobriety tests include things like the “walk and turn” test, the “horizontal gaze” test, and the “one-leg stand” test. These tests can be challenging to perform when sober and are even more difficult when you are nervous. Any confusion or failure to follow the officer’s directions precisely will be used against you, even if you subsequently performed the test correctly.
Do not assume your case is hopeless just because you failed the field sobriety test. An NYC DUI attorney can help you challenge the results of your field sobriety tests.
Other Issues an NYC DUI Attorney Can Raise in Your Case
In addition to challenging the chemical testing and the field sobriety tests, your lawyer can review your case to determine whether any of the following issues may exist in your case::
- Defects in the Miranda warning you were given;
- Lack of probable cause for the traffic stop;
- Insufficient evidence of vehicle operation;
- Lack of probable cause to arrest you for DUI.
If the police violated your constitutional rights, you may be able to get evidence suppressed, which could result in dismissal of your charges. A knowledgeable NYC DUI attorney can assess whether your constitutional rights were violated and consequently whether you can get evidence suppressed so that your case can be dismissed.
Have You Been Charged with DUI? Call NYC DUI Attorney Cody Warner Today
If you have been charged with a DUI NYC DUI attorney Cody Warner, who can explain your charges to you and develop the best defense strategy for your case. Contact Cody by phone or email to schedule a free consultation.