As everyone in NYC races to holiday parties the chances of getting pulled over due to a suspicion of DWI are higher than ever. This danger has not passed just because the Thanksgiving Weekend crackdown has.
The State of New York is relentless about prosecuting these cases.
And there are more eyes on drivers than ever. For example, there’s an app that lets citizens film suspected drunk drivers, then make a report to the police.
So there are a few things you need to know.
Refusing a field sobriety test can result in license suspicion.
This is one of the hardest decisions you’ll make if you’re pulled over for DWI, and there is no right or wrong answer.
Take the test, and you could end up providing law enforcement with evidence your blood alcohol level is too high. Refuse, and your driver’s license will be suspended. This may even happen if you’re from another state.
If you do refuse, make sure you have an alternate transportation plan in place which does not rely on you driving. Driving on a suspended license is another criminal charge, a misdemeanor which can result in up to one year in jail. Do keep in mind a good DWI lawyer may be able to help you get your license back.
Field sobriety tests aren’t very reliable.
All you have to do to know that is to look at a recent story out of New Jersey. 20,667 DWI convictions were recently tainted by bad breathalyzer tests. The State Supreme Court ruled every single one of these tests were inadmissible. Each person convicted in these cases may now challenge their conviction. In these cases, the tests were improperly calibrated.
This is good news for you. It means even if you take a breathalyzer test and show a BAC content of over .08, your DWI case is not open and shut. A good lawyer can attack the validity of the test, helping to get your charges reduced, or even dismissed.
If you’re charged, you can’t afford to get paralyzed.
Some people are so terrified when they get charged with a DWI they don’t do anything about the problem. They may fail to hire a lawyer or even miss court dates, digging an even deeper hole. Paralyzed with indecision and fear, they end up making their situation far worse.
Don’t do this! If you’ve been charged, get legal representation. Plan on making every court date. These charges can follow you the rest of your life, and if you are convicted the disruption to your current life could be so intense you may never recover. This is true even if you’ve never been in trouble in your life.
If you’re charged, stop talking!
One more tip—if you’re charged with a DWI, don’t talk to the police. Don’t talk to your family members. Don’t talk to your friends. Don’t post about it on social media. Anything you say to anyone could get used against you.
The only person you should be talking to, from the moment you’re charged until the moment your case is resolved, is your lawyer. If you need to reach out to a family member or friend for help, say nothing more than, “I’ve been charged with a crime and I need help with bail.” The quieter you are the less likely you’ll be to say something unintentionally incriminating.
Of course, we don’t want anyone to drink and drive, and we hope everyone reading this will be completely safe this holiday season. But if you do end up in trouble, we also hope you’ll keep these tips in mind.
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