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Driving While Intoxicated – DWI

The state of New York has stiff penalties for DWI and aggravated DWI offenses. For any arrest in New York City, the cases are aggressively prosecuted. You need an experienced Manhattan DWI defense attorney to help you fight your case. We work hard to help our clients fight for the best result.

The fact that you were arrested for DWI does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. Even if you submitted to the breath test and registered a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above, you can still fight the charges. Whether your case involves a breath or blood test or a refusal to take the test, call us to find out more about ways to fight the charges.

DWI Lawyer in NYC

At Greco Neyland, PC, our dedicated attorneys will fight for you and seek the best possible result for your case. We can challenge evidence, including the traffic stop itself as well as the results of DWI chemical testing of the breath or blood. Your charges could be reduced, dismissed or you could be acquitted at trial. We will advocate for you every step of the way, including assisting you with the license suspension hearings. Have a skilled Manhattan DWI lawyer with experience as a prosecutor on your side.

Call us at (212) 951-1300 to set up a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New York and Kings Counties, and in all five boroughs.


NYC DWI Information Center


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DWI vs. DWAI

In New York, the primary charge for drunk driving is Driving While Intoxicated, or “DWI.” Many also refer to this charge as “DUI,” which it is called in most other states. People in New York City are arrested and charged with DWI if the officer has probable cause to believe they are intoxicated or if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more. This is called “per se intoxication,” because under N.Y. VTL § 1192.2, a person is considered intoxicated if their BAC meets or exceeds that level, no matter what effects alcohol has on the driver’s body.

If a person does not have a BAC of .08 or above, however, he or she may still face criminal charges. In addition to DWI, a person may face charges for driving while ability impaired (DWAI). If you have a BAC between .05 and .07, you may face DWAI charges.

DWAI is often known as a lesser charge, in fact it is a violation and not a crime. It’s true that penalties for a DWAI are less severe than for a DWI. However, that does not mean they should be taken less seriously. A DWAI will result in you losing your license. You could even find yourself behind bars for a period of time.

If officers suspect a driver has been using drugs, the driver may face a DWAI, as well. This is called a DWAI-D. Charges are more severe for a DWAI-D than for a DWAI with just alcohol.


Types of Drunk or Drugged Driving Violations in New York

Under the laws of New York, crimes related to drunk or drugged driving can be charged in any of the following ways:

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol): more than .05 BAC but less than .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment’ 
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination);
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug);
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher or other evidence of intoxication. For drivers of commercial motor vehicles: .04 BAC or other evidence of intoxication;
  • Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI): .18 BAC or higher;
  • Aggravated DWI with a Child Passenger: A driver who is DWI when a child passenger is in the vehicle.; 
  • Chemical Test Refusal: A driver who refuses to take a chemical test (normally a test of breath, blood or urine); 
  • Zero Tolerance Law: A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a .02 BAC to .07 BAC violates the Zero Tolerance Law

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DWI Tests Used in New York, NY

In 2011, the NYPD had 9,097 DWI arrests. A year later that number jumped 6% to 9,643 DWI arrests. During these investigations, the NYPD officer will ask the driver to perform a series of field sobriety exercises. If you take the exercises and fail, the results will be used as evidence against you if you are charged.

In many cases, the test will be a chemical test. A chemical test will test for alcohol in the breath, blood or urine. Breath tests are especially common, as the officer will often have a portable device, known as a portable breath test (PBT).

Other tests might be a battery of tests known as standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). SFSTs test your mental and physical faculties to determine whether they have been negatively affected by drugs or alcohol.

Many people refuse to submit to testing. Refusing either the SFSTs or the chemical test will deny critical evidence to prosecutors, and could result in the charges being dropped altogether.

However, there are consequences to refusing to submit to a test. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1194(2)(a), any person who drives on public roads in New York has given his or her consent to a chemical tests. Your license will automatically be revoked if you refuse to submit to a chemical test upon request by a police officer.

There is no clear-cut answer as to whether or not it is best to refuse the chemical test. There are pros and cons to both sides of this debate. If police are unable to obtain a warrant to force you to take a blood test, prosecutors will have less evidence to prove their case, and it may make it easier for your lawyer to have the charges reduced or dismissed. The suspension or revocation of your driver’s license may be inconvenient, but if you promptly hire Greco Neyland, PC, we can request a formal hearing to challenge the administrative suspension.

Be advised however, that if you refuse to take a chemical test neither the New York County DA’s Office or the Kings County DA’s office will reduce your DWI to a DWAI (violation), as one of the requirements for a reduction is that you complied with the order to consent to a chemical test.

If you did take the test, it does not mean you are convicted. There are many faults in the accuracy of the tests. Police may fail to properly calibrate or clean them. The test results can be challenged, as can other aspects of a DWI arrest. Do not give up hope — hire an experienced advocate.


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Reasonable Suspicion for a Stop

A DUI arrest most often begins with a stop, in which police pull the driver over. The exception could be if an officer arrives at the scene of an accident and suspects one or both of the parties to be intoxicated.

To pull a person over, police must have reasonable suspicion that person is committing a crime. Reasonable suspicion is an articulable set of facts that would lead an objective person to believe that criminal activity is afoot.

Police may cite driving behavior as giving them reasonable suspicion. For example, they may say that a driver was weaving in and out of lanes, driving too fast, driving aggressively or rolling through stop signs and traffic signals.

Officers, however, may not cite vague suspicions as giving them grounds to make a stop. For example, an officer cannot say that he or she pulled a person over because they were driving at 3 a.m.

If a DUI arrest began with a traffic stop in which the officer did not have sufficient reasonable suspicion, we can make a motion to suppress the arrest. In many situations, this results in the entire case being thrown out.


Commercial Driver’s DWI

Compared to other drivers, every driver holding a Commercial Driver License (Class A, B, or C) is held to a stricter Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) standard. A commercial driver charged with any DWI or DWAI offense while operating a vehicle that requires a CDL license faces tougher penalties after an arrest.

In fact, even a single conviction for DWI, DWAI or having a BAC of .04 or higher can result in a minimum one-year revocation of the driver’s license. The revocation period is extended to three years if the CDL holder was driving a vehicle that requires hazardous materials placards.

A second conviction within the driver’s lifetime will result in a permanent revocation. No opportunity for a waiver is even available until after the first ten years of the revocation have passed. A third conviction will result in a permanent revocation without any possibility of every getting the commercial license back.

Additional information about the penalties for drunk or drugged driving can be found in the Commercial Driver’s Manual (CDL-10). Because of these harsh penalties, finding an experienced DWI attorney for a CDL holder is particularly important.


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Resources Related to Drunk Driving

New York State Police Traffic Safety – The NYSP patrol the state’s highways and road. NYSP officers also conduct DWI checkpoints and patrols.

Manhattan NYSP Troop HQ
1 Wards Meadow Loop
New York, NY 10035
Phone: (917) 492-7100

New York DMV Penalties for Alcohol or Drug-Related Violations – The Department of Motor Vehicles provides information on penalties for drunk and drugged driving.

Stop DWI Criminal Justice Task Force – Visit the website for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to learn more about the Criminal Court Bureau’s continued collaboration with NYPD and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT). Find information on the state-funded Stop DWI program which operates throughout Manhattan and the rest of New York City. The Stop DWI Criminal Justice Task Form includes representatives from each of the City District Attorney’s Offices, the New York City Police Collision Investigators and DWI NYPD enforcement officers to coordinate citywide DWI prosecutions.


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Greco Neyland, PC | NYC Attorney for DWI Charges

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, have an advocate on your side who will fight hard for the best possible result for you. Contact a skilled New York City DWI lawyer at Greco Neyland, PC. We will explore every possible avenue for your case.

Call us today at (212) 951-1300 to set up a free consultation.

 

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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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