Rockland County DWI Lawyer
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is far from a uniform charge, and different people may be arrested for DWI under differing circumstances. Every DWI case is unique, which means that each case may demand a critical eye to form an appropriate defense strategy. A Rockland County DWI lawyer could help you understand the charges you are facing and identify strategies that can lead to the best possible result. Speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney that could advocate for you.
Treatment of DWIs
As a rule, if a person is driving with a blood/alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or above, they are guilty of DWI. Furthermore, according to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1192, the police may request a driver submit to a breath, blood, or urine test if they suspect drunk driving. A failure to submit to such a test when requested to do so by an officer of the law is a criminal act in and of itself.
If these tests indicate that a person’s BAC level is .18 percent or above, the ensuing charge can be upgraded to aggravated DWI, as defined by New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1192 (2-a). However, DWI charges may also be brought based solely upon an officer’s observations. These are often backed up by field sobriety tests.
Refusal of Field Sobriety Tests
Unlike blood, breath, or urine tests, there is no implied consent law for field sobriety tests. This means a person that has been stopped under suspicion of DWI can refuse to submit to these tests. Field sobriety tests include the walk and turn test, the one-legged stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) exam.
While there are no criminal consequences for the refusal to participate in field sobriety tests, it could impact a person’s DWI case. This is because their refusal to participate could be raised by the prosecution at trial. A jury could take this refusal as a sign the driver was concerned they would fail, and therefore, was in fact intoxicated while driving. A skilled lawyer in Rockland County could determine how the refusal to take field sobriety tests may impact a particular DWI case.
What are the Potential Defenses for Drunk Driving Charges?
Although there are many potential defenses in a DWI case, many focus on two important approaches. The first involves challenging the results of the chemical test. The second involves attacking the validity of the traffic stop.
There are numerous regulations regarding the collection and transfer of blood or urine samples. Likewise, there are a number of calibration requirements that come with breath testing. The failure to comply with these regulations could compromise the test samples, resulting in their exclusion at trial.
An illegal traffic stop could also result in the dismissal of a DWI charge. The police may only stop a vehicle if they have reasonable suspicion that the driver is committing a traffic violation or other criminal act. If the defense can show the police did not have legal grounds to stop the vehicle, it could result in the exclusion of much of the evidence collected by the police. An attorney in Rockland County could help someone prepare their defense in a drunk driving case.
What are the Potential Consequences of a DWI Conviction?
In many situations, DWI charges are first-time offenses. When this is the case, the allegations are treated as a violation, the lowest category of criminal offense allowable under New York Penal Law. That being said, the potential punishments listed under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1193 are still severe, and upon conviction may include a fine of between $300 and $500, a jail term of no more than 15 days, and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. These punishments apply only to first-time offenders over the age of 21, who have been accused of DWI due to alcohol.
New York courts treat driving while under the influence of drugs more severely. While the charge is still referred to as DWI, the potential penalties are increased to the misdemeanor level. This allows for a maximum jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of between $500 and $1,000.
There are a number of additional factors that may make a DWI more serious. These include:
- DWI with a child in the car (NY VTL §1192 (2-b))
- DWI while under the age of 21 (NY VTL §1192-a)
- DWI that causes property damage or personal injury (NY VTL §1192 (12-i))
- Subsequent DWI charges after a prior conviction (NY VTL §1193)
A Rockland County lawyer could devote the time and resources necessary to mitigate the penalties that a person may face for DWI charges.
How a Rockland County DWI Attorney Could Help
Any allegation of DWI is a serious matter, especially for people facing charges with aggravating factors or who are looking at a subsequent conviction. When a conviction could result in a jail sentence, mandatory fines, and a required loss of license, the stakes in a DWI case are often very high.
Fortunately, a seasoned Rockland County DWI lawyer may be able to fight for you. We work with clients to identify their goals, analyze their cases, and argue for their freedom in court. Take a step forward to protect your liberty and driving privileges, and contact our firm today.