Rockland County DWI Drug Lawyer
Although a DWI usually refers to drunk driving, state law also makes it illegal to drive while impaired by drugs, regardless of whether they are prescription or illicit drugs. As the consequences of a drugged driving conviction can negatively impact your future, you should consult a Rockland County DWI drug lawyer for legal assistance.
With a driving while ability impaired by drugs conviction on your record, you may be ineligible for certain jobs, careers, and professional licenses. You also may experience difficulties finding housing and getting credit. An aggressive DWI defense lawyer can explain all possible ramifications of this type of conviction and assist you in your defense.
What are DWI Drug Offenses?
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(4) makes it illegal for individuals to drive while their ability to drive is impaired by drug use, or, under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(4-a), by the combined use of alcohol and controlled substances. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(12), certain behavior is aggravated DWAI by drugs if these actions results in serious physical injury to another person, or while a child who is 15 years old or less is present in the vehicle.
Although an individual may have a prescription for controlled substances, such as opiates, they still cannot drive while impaired by these drugs. This is the case even if they took no more than the prescribed dosage. Since the outcome of DWI by drugs charges can be severe, it is important to get the advice of a lawyer in Rockland County.
Proving DWAI by Drugs in Rockland County
Police officers can quickly test for drunk driving by administering various tests to measure blood alcohol content (BAC). However, establishing DWI by drugs can be more challenging. A roadside test to measure the extent of impairment by controlled substances is not available. Therefore, prosecutors must rely on other evidence to show proof of impairment, such as:
- Admission by drivers that they used drugs
- Drugs found on the drivers or in their vehicles
- Blood tests showing the presence of drugs in their systems
- The odor of some drugs, such as marijuana
If a driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test when stopped by police, they may face an automatic license suspension. If they refuse to take a blood test to detect the presence of drugs, they also may face a suspension. A Rockland County attorney could determine if a prosecutor has enough evidence to prove DWI drug charges in a particular case.
What are the Potential Penalties for Drug DWIs?
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1193(a)(2) sets forth the penalties for DWAI by drugs, which is a misdemeanor offense. Potential penalties include a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000, a jail sentence of up to one year, or both. Individuals may also face a six-month license suspension for a first DWI drugs conviction.
If someone has a prior DWI conviction or related convictions, they will generally face Class E felony charges if they are caught driving while high on drugs. Anyone convicted of a Class E felony may receive a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000, as well as a period of incarceration of up to four years and a license revocation of at least one year.
If a person accrues two convictions within ten years or three convictions within 15 years, they can face Class D felony charges. A conviction can result in a fine ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, a period of incarceration of up to seven years, and a license revocation of at least one year. A lawyer in Rockland County could help someone who has been accused of a DWI drug charge minimize the potential penalties they may be facing.
Defenses to a Drug DWI Charge
The available defenses to a drug DWI offense are similar to most drunk driving cases. However, there are additional options for these cases thanks to the difficulty of establishing intoxication based on substances other than alcohol. A Rockland County attorney could determine what the best defense strategy may be for a specific drug DWI case.
Lack of Intoxication
The most basic defense to these charges is that the driver in question was not under the influence. It is not enough for the state to show that a controlled substance was present in the vehicle or that the person had used an intoxicating substance in the past. The prosecution must show the recent consumption of a substance has led to dangerous intoxication that impacted their ability to drive safely.
Illegal Traffic Stop
Another common defense for these cases involves illegal traffic stops. The police do not have the right to pull over any driver they want. If they make a traffic stop without a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, any evidence collected during the stop could be barred from trial.
Improper Test Results
While this defense is more common in alcohol DWI cases, it could be relevant in driving while impaired by drug cases where blood or urine samples are collected. If the state fails to follow their own standards in collecting or testing these samples, the results could be excluded at trial.
A Rockland County DWI Drug Attorney Can Help
Avoiding or minimizing the impact of a DWAI by drugs conviction can be essential to your future, both personally and professionally. An inability to drive can make your everyday life more challenging and make employment extremely difficult. Working with a Rockland County DWI drug lawyer may be the most effective way to defend yourself against these charges. Call today to discuss your case.