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DWAI – Drugs

New York law forbids anyone driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance, including controlled substances. If police suspect you are driving while on drugs, you will be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI). However, unlike a DWAI involving just alcohol, a DWAI involving drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol is not a “lesser offense.”

Manhattan DWAI – Drugs Lawyer

If you face a DWAI charge involving drugs in New York City, the consequences can be grave. Fight the charges with the help of a skilled Manhattan DWAI – Drugs lawyer from Greco Neyland, PC. We seek the best possible results for all our clients, including dismissal or reduction of charges, and we’ll spend the time necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of your entire case. Our attorney have taken the same training as the NYPD’s drug recognition experts, so we know how to look for flaws in the evidence.

We fight for the rights of clients accused of impaired driving in Manhattan, Brooklyn and throughout the five boroughs of New York City.


Information on DWI and Controlled Substances


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Drugged Driving Under New York Law

Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.4, it is illegal for any person to drive a motor vehicle in the state when his or her ability is impaired by drugs. This means any controlled substance, including:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine (including crack)
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin
  • PCP
  • Methamphetamines
  • LSD (Acid)

This also includes prescription drugs. Some people mistakenly believe that if they are under the influence of a substance that is legal to possess with a doctor’s permission, it is legal to drive. However, the law bans driving under the influences of drugs, legal and illegal, whether or not the person has a prescription.

The law even applies to nonprescription, over-the-counter drugs, like Benadryl and Nyquil.

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.4-a also prohibits driving while impaired by a combinations of drugs and alcohol.


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Proving Influence of Drugs

Those suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol are asked to take a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). Those suspected of driving under the influence of drugs may also be asked to take a test, which may confirm the existence of drugs in a person’s system.

However, while the test results may be used as evidence against you if controlled substances or their metabolites are found in your system, there is no “per se” level of intoxication for drugs, which means there is no set amount of drugs in the system that proves intoxication.

In a DWAI – drugs charge, the New York City Assistant District Attorney may present a variety of evidence to prove intoxication, including police testimony of:

  • Erratic driving
  • Impaired speech
  • Red eyes
  • Smell of marijuana, crack or other smoked substances
  • Admission that the person used drugs

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Use of Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) in New York City

The NYPD also has officers who have trained in a program approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and certified to become drug recognition experts (DRE).  DREs follow a 12-step process when they encounter a person they believe to be under the influence of drugs.  The attorneys at Greco Neyland, PC have taken the same DRE certification classes that the arresting officers have taken and have the same qualifications they have. Less than 5% of all NY DWI attorneys have this qualification.

Any evidence prosecutors try to bring, including any DWI tests and the testimony of DREs, can be challenged by an attorney. For instance, if the DRE failed to properly execute every step, their entire testimony could come under question. At Greco Neyland, PC, we will carefully examine every step the police took to look for ways to fight the charges.


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Penalties for DWAI – Drugs

If convicted of driving while ability impaired by drugs, or by a combination of drugs and alcohol, you will face the same penalties as if you had a DWI. For a first offense of either, you face:

  • A fine from $500 to $1,000
  • Up to a year in jail
  • License suspended or revoked for six months at minimum

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New York City Attorney for Defending Against DWAI – Drugs Charges

If you face charges for driving while ability impaired by drugs, or by a combination of drugs and alcohol, call a dedicated defense attorney who will challenge the charges and seek your freedom. At Greco Neyland, PC, a Manhattan DWAI – drugs lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of your case, challenging the traffic stop and any evidence prosecutors bring forward. Call (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation.

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Jeff Greco
Jeffery Greco
Experience as a former prosecutor gives Jeffery Greco an edge in building the strongest possible defense strategy for the accused in New York City.
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Dustan Neyland
Dustan Neyland
A thorough investigation is key to finding every reasonable doubt and getting charges reduced or dismissed for NYC defense attorney Dustan Neyland.
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