Should I fight a New York DWI Charge?
Being convicted for a New York DWI is a serious offense that carries harsh consequences such as:
- Suspension or Revocation of your Driver’s license
- Heavy fines
- Lost work opportunities
- Years of High Insurance Premiums
- Mandatory attendance in treatment programs
- Installation of Ignition Interlock device in your car
- limit your ability to travel abroad
Unless you are willing to accept all the penalties associated with a New York DWI, it is important that you speak to a New York DWI lawyer about fighting the charges against you. Having an experienced DWI attorney represent you in court can make all the difference. Our DWI lawyer may be able to have charges against you reduced or even dismissed entirely.
Is it possible to win a New York DWI case?
Yes – it is completely possible to win a New York DWI case. Whether you will win or lose the case depends mainly upon two factors:
- The Evidence and facts of the case.
- How you present the Evidence and the facts of the case.
It is highly recommended that you find an experienced attorney with prior DWI experience to represent you in court. An attorney that focuses on New York DWI cases will help you build a strong defense by collecting and presenting all the appropriate evidence in your favor. He/she can seriously raise your odds of winning the case.
Our attorneys have a long history of fighting and winning New York DWI cases. We have not only been able to get the charges reduced against our clients, but in some cases we have had the charges dropped entirely.
Arguing constitutional violations and challenging Blood Alcohol levels are two examples of the many strategies employed by our attorneys. We are careful to review police reports systematically to ensure that there are no lapses in procedure. We request full disclosure of the device used to conduct the test, the personnel maintaining the device, and the lab certification.
Different errors can be discovered during the examination of the case that may help the attorney build a strong defense such as:
- Police Officer may not have a “reasonable cause” to pull over your car.
- Insufficient Evidence to request a Blood Alcohol Test (BAC)
- Errors in the blood and breath intoxication tests.
- Test results spoiled by contaminated
- A credible witness vouches for you that you were not intoxicated while you were driving.
An attorney with prior experience in court will know exactly what to look for in your case, and so he will able to help you pick the best options relative to your case. Our attorneys are highly skilled in court. Contact us for a free consultation to determine your best defense strategy.
What will be the costs involved?
A New York DUI is a serious crime with serious penalties. Even with the simplest cases, the costs of a DUI conviction can go up to around $9,500. This is the minimal estimate of costs that are applicable to first time offenders aged 21 or above with no injury or accidents. These charges may be significantly greater in case of multiple accidents, presence of minor in car, accidents etc.
However it is possible to get these costs reduced drastically by fighting the charges against you in court. An experienced New York DUI attorney may be able to help you get the charges reduced or even dismissed completely.
Along with court costs and court fines that are mentioned in the penalties section, you will also have to pay for the costs of travel to and from court, attendance in mandatory treatment programs, lose wages due to court hearing, and pay years of higher insurance premiums. There will be social costs as well.
A DUI case is an expensive ordeal to be involved in.
|Charge||Mandatory Fine||JAIL TERM||DRIVER’S LICENSE ACTION|
|Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)||$300 – $500||15 days||Supended for 90 days|
|Driving While Ability Impaired (Drugs)||$500 – $1,000||1 year||Revoked for at least six months|
|Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)||$500 – $1,000||1 year||Revoked for at least six months|
|Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated||$1,000 – $2,500||1 year||Revoked for at least one year|
|Second DWI in 10 years (E felony)||$1,000 – $5,000||4 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Third DWAI-Combination in 10 years (D felony)||$2,000 – $10,000||7 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Second DWAI violation in 5 years||$500 – $750||30 days||Revoked for at least six months|
|Third or subsequent DWAI within 10 years (Misd)||$750 – $1,500||180 days||Revoked for at least six months|
What will happen during the proceedings in Court?
After you have been arrested and either released with out bail (ROR) or after you have posted the bail set by the judge at your arraignment you will be given a date to appear in court.
The next court date is usually after 20 to 45 days of your arrest. You may hire an attorney during this period between your arrest and your appearance in court. If you hire an attorney to represent you he or she will appear in court with you on the next court date.
During the time period after your arrest, your case will be investigated by the County District Attorney’s office. The County District Attorney will prepare all the discovery, and begin to turn the discovery over to you and your attorney at the court dates set for your appearances.
The court will set a motion schedule and your attorney will prepare, file with the court and serve on the District Attorney pre-trial motions to suppress evidence against you by arguing constitutional violations to protect your rights under the law. If granted by the judge you may wish to proceed to a pre-trial hearing. The case will be sent to a judge to conduct the hearing. At the hearing the police officer(s) witnesses will be called to testify.
You must now decide if you want to have a bench trial or a Jury trial. In a bench trial, the judge in court hears your case and delivers a verdict. In a Jury trial, a group of your peers decides the verdict. The Jury is composed of 6 people in a misdemeanor case and 12 people in a felony case.
The court will render a sentence if a conviction has been made. The conviction can be made either when the defendant enters a plea under a plea bargain or when the court delivers the verdict. If you are proven guilty you will be given penalties depending upon the severity of your crime. The penalties you may receive have been discussed in detail in the next question.
What are the possible Penalties for a New York DWI conviction?
If you are convicted for a New York DUI, the following two variables will determine the penalties you may receive:
- History of Prior DUI Convictions.
- The seriousness of the offense ranging from a traffic infraction to a felony.
The penalties awarded by court for a DWI offense include:
- Fines of $500 or higher depending upon the seriousness of the offense
- Incarceration in the state correctional facility for up to 7 years
- Probation or Monthly discharge
- Installation of Ignition Interlock Device
- A driver assessment of $250 for 3 years
Suspension or Revocation of the Driver’s license
In addition to these consequences, you will also be subjected to years of increased insurance premiums.
The ignition interlock device may be installed in your car if you have a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of 0.15 or above. This device functions like a breath analyzer. It requires the driver to breath into it, and if it detects BAC to be above the programmed limit then your car will not start.
Under what condition will my license get revoked or suspended?
If you have been convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) then your license may be suspended for 3 months. On the other hand, if you are convicted for a New York DUI then your license will be suspended for six months.
Under both these cases, you may file for a conditional license provided you meet the following criteria:
- You have no prior DUI or DWI offense in the past five years.
- You have not refused a breath test in the past five years.
- You participate in the New York State DMV Drinking Driver’s Program. (You will have to pay for this program out of your own pocket.)
If you fail to meet these criteria then you will be rendered ineligible to receive the conditional license
What is a conditional license?
A conditional license allows you to drive to work, medical treatment, court, your children’s school or daycare, alcohol or drug treatment program and your own classes at an accredited school or college.
You will only be allowed to drive during the specific time period that has been approved by court. If you violate the timings set by court then your license will be revoked permanently.
If your BAC level is higher than 0.08 when you were arrested then your license may get suspended during the trial. Under this condition, your attorney may file for a ‘Hardship Privilege”. A Hardship Privilege will allow you to drive to and from work and school. After 30 days, you will become eligible to receive a conditional license provided you have no prior DUI or DWAI violations in the past five years, and you have not refused a breath, blood, or urine test. Under these circumstances, you will receive the license without having to take the DMV Drinking Driver Program classes.
Refusal of a test of your BAC level will render you ineligible to receive a conditional license. However with the help of an experienced attorney you may be able to challenge the revocation in a DMV refusal hearing, and in some cases have your license restored temporarily.
When driving on a conditional license, you may drive:
- Back and forth to your place of employment
- During the hours of employment when your job requires you to drive
- Back and forth to a class at an accredited school, college or university, but not a high school
- Back and forth to an authorized part of the Impaired Driving Program (hereinafter “IDP”)
- Back and forth to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office it is relative to your conditional license or the IDP
- Back and forth to your child’s school/day care
- Back and forth to court ordered activities
- During an assigned period of 3 hours between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. once per week
- Back and forth to necessary medical treatment for you or another household member (with a written statement from your doctor)
What is a DMV refusal hearing?
When you refuse to give a BAC test, your driving license will get revoked for a year. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will arrange an administrative refusal hearing for your license within 15 days of your arraignment.
This hearing will be independent of your criminal hearing in court. It will be headed by an administrative law judge who working on the principal of ‘clear and convincing evidence; will determine whether you knowingly or unknowingly refused the hearing in court.
What is the significance of a DMV refusal hearing?
Although a DMV hearing is completely distinct from the misdemeanor, felony or criminal hearing in court, it is an important part of the DUI case.
By losing a DMV refusal hearing not only can you get a $500 fine, an assessment of $250 for 3 years, and lose your license, but prosecutors can also use this against you in your DUI criminal case proceedings in court.
New York law allows the assistant district attorney to use your refusal to give a BAC test as a ‘consciousness of guilt’ in court which can seriously weaken your defense.
Do I need a Lawyer to defend me in a DMV refusal hearing?
Yes, it certainly would be recommended to have a lawyer defend you in a DMV hearing; it wouldn’t be wise to go without one.
While the administrative court is able to do the proceeding of a DMV refusal hearing on police paper work, it is possible that that officer who arrested you may show up. If the police officer comes to the hearing, your attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine him or her. The prosecutors would not want the police officer to come to court, because in the New York State no advocate must represent the police officer in court. The prosecutors know that the testimony given by the officer in court can have serious implications in court.
If you have an experienced lawyer he may help you summon the officer in court, and corner him to receive a favorable testimony that can seriously dent the prosecutor’s case. The testimony by the officer can not only be used to recover your license but it can also be used in your DUI criminal case in court.
Without a lawyer, you may not only lose your license but you may be charged with a ‘consciousness of guilt’ in court by losing the refusal hearing.
How long will the entire case take?
Unless you’re willing to plead guilty on the first hearing, a DWI or DWAI case in the state of New York can usually last for from many months to a year and sometimes even more depending upon the complexity of the case.
A reliable estimate of the duration of the case can only be established after studying all the facts relative to the case. You can discuss your case with our attorneys in a free consultation. They provide you with a reliable duration of the time your case may last.