New York And Long Island DWI Lawyer
In New York state, increased efforts to prevent drunk driving have caused the penalties associated with these offenses to grow in severity. If you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, remember that you have the right to consult with an attorney before taking any breath test or giving any statement to police.
Being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can come with serious consequences, so it is important that if you have been arrested, you consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the DWI charge, these consequences can vary.
I can help you. At the Law Office of Michael A. Schillinger, Esq., I provide aggressive criminal defense advocacy against DWI charges throughout New York and Long Island. I can answer your questions about your charges and help you feel confident about how to proceed through the legal system. It doesn’t have to be intimidating; call my firm today for help.
Common DWI Charges
Driving while ability impaired by alcohol or drugs: This charge, while less severe than some of the other DWI charges, can still mean significant consequences for an individual. Depending on your circumstances, driving while impaired, a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, can lead to jail time, fines, mandatory alcohol programs, and license suspensions.
Driving while intoxicated after having consumed alcohol or drugs: A person may be charged with DWI as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If this is the first time you’ve been arrested for DWI, it is likely you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor. However, DWI is not only a misdemeanor charge.
DWI as a felony charge: If you have been previously convicted of a DWI misdemeanor within the past 10 years and you are suspected of drunk driving, you may be charged with DWI as either a class E felony (if you have one prior DWI conviction within 10 years) or a class D felony (if you have two prior DWI convictions within 10 years). Additionally, even if this is your first time being charged with DWI, but you have a child in the vehicle with you who is under the age of 15, you may be charged with a Leandra’s law DWI, which is a felony. As you might imagine, the potential penalties that come with felony offenses are much more severe than those that come with misdemeanors, and District Attorneys prosecute them much more vigorously.
Penalties for DWI can include the following:
- A license revocation
- If you hold a CDL license, permanent revocation of your license
- A criminal record that will stick with you for the rest of your life and which may have a negative impact on your job or career
- Being expelled from a university or losing financial aid for your education
- Potential immigration consequences, including removal, regardless of whether or not you are here as a legal permanent resident or undocumented
- Mandatory alcohol treatment
- A period of conditional discharge or probation
- Having to install and pay for an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
- Having to wear a bracelet that monitors whether or not you drink alcohol, or having to blow into a portable breathalyzer device to monitor whether you consume alcohol
- Serious fines
- In a worst-case scenario – jail time
If you have been arrested for DWI, understand that you have a long road ahead of you in both Criminal Court and Traffic Court. Having an experienced attorney to help you navigate the criminal justice system, the traffic courts, and the Department of Motor Vehicles’ strict rules, can mean all the difference in your case.
Generally, when someone is arrested for DWI they are removed to the Intoxicated Driver’s Testing Unit of the police department. When they arrive, they are given an opportunity to take a breath test to determine whether or not they are intoxicated. Before you take a breath test know that you can, and should, speak with an attorney.
Whether or not you take that test can have serious consequences to both your criminal case and your driver’s license. In fact, the New York Times recently published an article citing the potential inaccuracies of breath tests. You have the right to refuse to take the breath test and/or give a blood sample, but know that if you do refuse to take the breath test, your driver’s license may be suspended for a year.
The police will also most likely ask you to take a physical coordination test, a nystagmus test (eye test), and to answer potentially incriminating questions. You have the right to refuse every single one of these things. Additionally, you can, and should, consult with an attorney before consenting to any of these tests.
Also know that police may tell you that they just need you to perform a coordination test “to make sure you’re ok to drive.” They may ask you to take a portable breath test for the same reasons. Before doing any of these things, it is important that you speak with an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.