How to Beat a DUI in New York

by | Oct 11, 2023 | DWI / DUI

A “DWI” Vs. “DUI” in New York

In most states, a DUI is a common phrase, but New York does not commonly refer to it. DWI and DWAI are the main drunk driving offenses in New York. A “DWI” or “driving while intoxicated” refers to being legally drunk (having a blood alcohol content of .08%). DWAI or driving while ability impaired refers to whatever substance is impairing the driver’s ability to drive a car safely. For example, having a blood alcohol content less than .08% but impairing the driver’s ability, or being impaired by drugs other than alcohol. DUI stands for “driving under the influence”, and a DUI is a misdemeanor. DUI occurs when a person’s mental or physical capacities are impaired to the extent of being unable to drive safely.

Legal DUI limits in New York include:

NY DUI Enforcement police follow certain rules when they stop suspected DUI drivers. Police officers must have reasonable suspicion to make the traffic stop.

Understanding DUI Penalties and Defense Strategies in New York

A DUI in New York significantly impacts your driving record and can carry severe consequences, especially for a first-time offense. When a law enforcement officer conducts a traffic stop, if there’s probable cause to believe you’re under the influence, such as observed slurred speech or failed field sobriety tests, you’ll likely face a DUI charge.

The legal limit for blood alcohol content in New York is 0.08%. Exceeding this limit, as confirmed by a breath test, typically leads to arrest.

For first-time offenders, the penalties can be harsh, aiming to deter drunk driving. These include fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, a potential jail term of up to one year, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension for at least six months.

In cases involving higher BAC levels or other aggravating factors like a DUI checkpoint refusal, the consequences can escalate to an aggravated DWI offense, which involves even stiffer penalties.

On your driving record, a DUI conviction remains for at least ten years, affecting insurance rates and future background checks. In some cases, with the help of a skilled DUI defense attorney, certain defenses like insufficient lawful evidence, challenges to the legality of the traffic stop, or errors in handling chemical test procedures can be effective.

These defenses may lead to reduced charges or even dismissal if it’s demonstrated that the officer lacked probable cause for the initial traffic stop or that the breathalyzer test was improperly administered.

Engaging a DUI attorney early in the process is crucial. Legal counsel can navigate the complexities of DUI defense, from questioning the field sobriety tests conducted at the police pullover to scrutinizing the blood alcohol content results obtained at the police station.

Their expertise can significantly affect the outcome of the case, potentially securing a more favorable outcome like reduced penalties or retaining your driving privileges.

Know Your Rights

Nobody wants to be pulled over by a policeman or, worse, arrested. Especially for a DUI/DWI charge in New York. Having legal counsel to avoid violating your rights is critical. Most individuals are unaware of their rights being violated, which may be useful in defending you against DWI or DUI charges filed in court. It is important that you fully understand your rights when facing a DUI charge in New York.

Avoid These Actions During a DUI Traffic Stop

Stop in a safe, normal manner

Pullover, use your turn signal and come to a complete stop as soon as possible. It’s critical to remember that when you’re stopped for DUI, everything about the encounter (including your driving before the stop) is being recorded.

Do not be rude to the police officer

You’re being (audio and video) recorded during your conversation with the officer. Do not offer anyone in the future any cause to think you were nasty, stubborn, or intoxicated if they watch the video. Always refer to the police officer as “sir” or “ma’am,” and avoid getting argumentative with him or her at any time

Do not mention you’ve been drinking

You must give your name, driver’s license, registration, and automobile insurance information to the police officer once you’ve been pulled over for DUI. You do not have to respond to any incriminating inquiries they may ask you, such as “how much have you had to drink tonight?” This is an example of a question that you do not need to answer.

Do not take any field sobriety tests

Although police may demand that you exit your car, they cannot make you do any field sobriety exercises. These tests are entirely optional. When an officer requests that you get out of your vehicle, you must comply (but do not use the door or vehicle to aid your balance while exiting). After getting out of your car, politely refuse to take all field sobriety tests.

Simply explain: “My attorney told me I should not submit to these tests.”

Do not submit to taking a chemical test

When the police pull you over for DUI, politely refuse when they ask if you would take a breath, blood, or urine test if you’ve been drinking. Why? For a variety of reasons, among them: 1. Breath tests are frequently inaccurate owing to a variety of causes (see here). 2. Regardless of your choice to take a chemical test, the police officer will arrest you for a DUI.

After refusing to submit to the chemical test, you will be subject to (at least) a 1-year administrative license suspension (ALS) for refusing to take the test. You will also have to serve (at least) a 1-year court-ordered suspension, regardless, if you are ultimately convicted of Operating a Vehicle Impaired, there is not much incentive to submit to a chemical test.

If you take a breath, blood, or urine test and the results are above the legal limit, it does not necessarily indicate that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. There are several defenses to which you may resort.

Do not speak with the cops once you’ve been arrested, especially if you’re in a police vehicle

In many police vehicles, microphones and cameras are installed in the front and back seats. Everything you say inside the car is being recorded.

Remember that you have the option to contact your lawyer at any time during this communication. Even if you have taken a field sobriety test, it does not necessarily mean that you will face guilty verdict.

Helpful Tips on How to Beat a DUI Charge in New York

The following are the top 5 most common mistakes made by law enforcement during a DUI investigation that could help you beat a DUI:

The officer didn’t have probable cause

Rather than having a hunch, law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion in order to make a valid traffic stop. Traffic infractions or equipment malfunctions are examples of good investigatory stops. If a defendant successfully asserts his or her constitutional rights against an unlawful traffic stop, the evidence obtained prior to arrest may be inadmissible.

The arrest was not recorded correctly by the officer

It’s conceivable that police made mistakes in their reports because they didn’t keep any notes during the traffic stop. If a police report was filled out incorrectly, it may be challenged.

At a DUI checkpoint, the officer did not follow the regulations

Stop and searches at DUI checkpoints are a relatively new technique used by cops to stop drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. Police may use sobriety checkpoints to block access to a roadway and check random vehicles in order of intoxication, arrest those who have been driving while intoxicated. Officers, on the other hand, are not permitted to randomly stop cars.

The officer failed to properly administer the field sobriety assessments

In many jurisdictions, law enforcement may demand that a driver submits to one or more field sobriety tests (i.e. one-leg stand, walk and turn, and horizontal gaze nystagmus) if they believe the driver has been drinking. These exercises must be done in accordance with NHTSA’s criteria. If an officer makes any mistakes during this process, it could mean having your case dismissed.

The law enforcement officer failed to administer the breath test correctly

To administer breath tests, officials must first obtain certification and training. They must make sure the test is calibrated correctly, that they watch the suspect for at least 15 minutes before administering the test, and that all appropriate procedures are followed. If an officer violates the procedure, the results will be invalidated.

Don’t Plead Guilty to a DUI Without a Fight in New York

If you are pulled over on DUI suspicion, it’s important to remember that even the smallest of mistakes can be used against you. To help protect your rights, contact Richard Hochhauser, DWI & Criminal Lawyer for DUI defense in Long Island New York before submitting to any additional questioning by police. Give us a call at 516-939-1529 or fill out a form online.

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