Driving While Intoxicated

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Are you facing charges for driving while intoxicated in New York?

Our driving while intoxicated, or DWI / DUI defense lawyers are professional New York DWI defense lawyers. All we do is represent drivers accused of traffic crimes and infractions, including NY VTL § 1192, DWI / DUI. If you have been arrested or received tickets for DWI, call us at Palumbo & Associates to speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney.

Driving while intoxicated, also known as “DWI” or “DUI”is likely the most serious criminal charge the average person will likely face. Being arrested for DWI is a very serious matter. The law has changed to the point where in some cases a prosecutor’s ability to make a plea offer is limited. Moreover, if a persons blood alcohol content, or “BAC” is .18 or more the charge is the enhanced misdemeanor of aggravated DWI. A second DWI arrest when if you have been convicted of DWI within the past 10 years is a felony DUI charge, and if you have a minor in the vehicle you will likewise be charged with felony DUI.

There is no “legal limit” for DWI

One great myth is that a person’s BAC must be above a certain limit before they are considered intoxicated. However, the opposite is true. If a person’s blood alcohol content [“BAC”] is .08. or more they are intoxicated per se. This means that no matter how well they were driving they are still considered intoxicated. The law on this issue is contained in NY VTL § 1192(3). However, even at a lower blood alcohol content or if a motorist refuses to provide a breath sample they can still be convicted of driving while intoxicated on the police officer’s observations. This is called “common law” DUI, and is found in NY VTL § 1192(2).

The lesser charge of Driving While Ability Impaired

DWI is a misdemeanor and therefore a crime. A lesser and included charge of DWI is driving while ability impaired, or “DWAI”. Driving while ability impaired contained in NY VTL § 1192(1). While it is not a crime but a violation, a plea to the violation of DWAI will still result of loss of driving privileges as well as the requirement that you enroll in the NYS DMV Drinking Driving Program, or “DDP.”

The Importance of Your First DWI Court Appearance

Do not delay in retaining counsel if you have been arrested for DWI! Do not go it alone to your first court date! The first court date is called an “arraignment.” In most criminal proceedings the arraignment is merely a formality. Not so in a DWI case. In a DWI what happens at the arraignment will have a direct bearing on the strength or weakness of your case, and the ultimate outcome. For example, at the arraignment:

  • You will have your only opportunity to demand or waive a Pringle Hearing, which could save you from losing your license
  • The court may order you for mandated substance abuse counseling, however if you bring the court to arraignment proof of self referral that is often waived
  • If you have a commercial driver’s license making the appropriate demands and applications can often lead to a prevention of the suspension of your commercial privileges
  • You can obtain hardship driving privileges despite the fact that your license is being promptly suspended at arraignment
  • If you refused to submit to a chemical test the specialized refusal hearing will be scheduled at the arraignment, for which you would want a short date to get your driving privileges back as soon as possible

Possible Penalties Upon a NY DWI Conviction

The sentencing guidelines on a DWI are broad. However, you are facing the following:

  • Loss of driving privileges
  • Requirement that an ignition breathalyzer interlock be installed on your vehicle
  • Requirement that you attend the MADD victim impact panel
  • Incarceration for up to 1 year in a misdemeanor case; at least 1 year for a felony
  • Successfully completing the NYS DMV DDP to get your license back
  • Successfully completing any court mandated counseling
  • Large fines and surcharges
  • Probation of either:
    • 1 year regular probation
    • 3 years DWI probation
  • In addition, while it is not a court penalty, you will be moved for insurance purposes to the assigned risk pool and your insurance will increase drastically.

Your Next Step

If you have been arrested for DWI time is of the essence. You need to stop whatever it is you are doing and call us today at 1-877-99-NO-TIX 1 (877) 996-6849 for a no cost, no obligation phone consultation.