Bronx DWI Drug Lawyer

Although many people think of drunk driving when thinking about DWIs, the state laws also describe that an officer can arrest a driver they believe was operating their vehicle while under the influence of a drug. This can include both street drugs and any prescription medications that impairs a person’s ability to drive.

A Bronx DWI drug lawyer could help you if you are facing allegations of driving while under the influence of drugs. A well-versed DWI attorney could explain how this is considered a violation of the law and work to develop a defense to protect your freedom and ability to continue driving.

The Bronx’s Laws Concerning Drugs and DWI

New York’s laws prohibit any person from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug. Specifically, New York Vehicle and Traffic Code §1192 makes little distinction between DWI for alcohol or that for drugs. Furthermore, Section 4 states that any drug that causes an impairment qualifies under this definition. As a result, any foreign substance that compromises a person’s ability to drive is a violation of this law.

The penalties for a drug-related DWI are harsh. In fact, the penalties for even a first offense are misdemeanors, as opposed to alcohol-related DWI convictions which are violations. According to New York Vehicle and Traffic Code §1193(b), a conviction can result in a fine between $500 and $1,000, a jail term of up to one year, or both. In addition, the DMV must revoke a person’s driver’s license for at least six months following a conviction. A Bronx lawyer could help fight charges for a DWI drug offense.

Submission to Chemical Testing

The police can require a driver to submit to a breathalyzer test upon suspicion of drunk driving. However, New York Vehicle and Traffic Code §1194(2) states that an implied condition of receiving a driver’s license is that a driver also gives their consent to submit to a blood, breath, urine, or saliva test upon request from a police officer.

Police officers can require a person to submit to any of these tests within two hours of arrest upon suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs. Refusing to submit to these tests is illegal. A refusal will result in a $500 fine and require the court to revoke a person’s license for at least 18 months. A Bronx lawyer could provide more information about chemical testing requirements and the potential legal trouble that may follow in a DWI drug case.

Can a Breathalyzer Detect Drug Use?

Breathalyzer machines are designed to register the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in a person’s body at the time the sample is given. A person’s BAC only takes into account the alcohol that is in their system, meaning these machines have no way of measuring whether a person is under the influence of a substance other than alcohol.

That does not mean it is impossible to detect the presence of a chemical substance in other ways. Most notably, blood or urine tests could provide the prosecution with evidence that a person had a specific substance in their system.

This might not necessary be strong evidence of DWI, however. Some drugs can remain in a person’s system for weeks, long after any intoxicating effects have worn off. Other substances are only traceable shortly after they are ingested, meaning their presence on test results could be strong evidence of intoxication at trial.

Do Police Officers Use Field Sobriety Tests to Detect Drug Intoxication?

The police have a separate set of field sobriety test when drug intoxication is suspected. This process generally begins with an interview and a pulse reading. The police may also request a breathalyzer sample and watch for signs in a driver’s eyes for intoxication.

Like with all field sobriety tests, these examinations are subjective and prone to inaccuracies. The results from these tests are even less reliable when they are conducted by someone other than a drug recognition expert. As a result, a Bronx attorney could argue against the validity of these test results in a drug DWI case.

Some police officers obtain specialized training for recognizing the signs of drug intoxication. These officers are known as drug recognition experts, or DREs. Unfortunately, the training these officers receive is largely subjective and non-scientific. As with any field sobriety test, a driver has no obligation to submit to an examination from a DRE.

Let a Bronx DWI Drug Attorney Be an Advocate

Even though New York has taken steps to liberalize many drug laws, driving while under the influence of any drug is still illegal. A conviction may result in a license suspension, the payment of a fine, and a jail sentence.

A Bronx DWI drug lawyer could help to protect your rights. A proactive attorney could evaluate the arresting officer’s reasoning for making a stop, examine the legality of any police work that led to an arrest, and contest the results of any chemical tests that may indicate intoxication. Call today to learn more.

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