Being arrested for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated in the State of New York is not a small legal matter. The conviction of driving while intoxicated (DWI) can carry serious financial and everyday consequences. Even a first DWI conviction can result in suspension of your license and the possibility of jail time. That is not to mention inclusion of a misdemeanor on your criminal record and imposition of a hefty fine.
Many people assume that an arrest for DWI will lead to a conviction, carrying all of these penalties, and that there is no prospect for building a defense to a DWI charge. However, this is untrue and given the severity of the potential consequences, it is imperative that you consider the potential for a defense to DWI.
A common defense to DWI in New York is showing that the arresting office, intake officer, or other member of law enforcement made a mistake. This might seem like an unlikely defense, but it is not uncommon for law enforcement officers try to take shortcuts, mishandle evidence, or otherwise fail to follow procedures. Throughout the entire process of a stop, determination of your intoxication, arrest, booking, and release must be handled in a specific manner, if not then certain evidence could be inadmissible.
There are a few points in the process that are common for a lawyer to look at closely. First, whether or not the officer’s determination to stop you was legal and appropriate. There must be something that triggered the officer to pull you over. This could be a trigger related to suspicion of intoxication, such as dangerous or unsafe driving. It might also a reason unrelated to DWI, such as having a headlight out.
However, without cause to pull you over, then under New York law, the acts of the officer amounted to an illegal stop and search. This means everything that happened afterwards, including your DWI charge is inadmissible to the court. The difficulty is in proving these facts, and it takes a NY DWI Defense lawyer familiar with DWI defense to properly put this argument together.
Second, it is essential that law enforcement and the prosecutor can provide detailed evidence that the breathalyzer or other device used to read your blood alcohol content was effective and accurate. This includes evidence of appropriate storage and maintenance of the device that shows it was in good working order. It is also required to show that the device accurate in recording your BAC.
A lawyer will look for evidence that the breathalyzer was not previously tested or had malfunctioned in an earlier instance. Another opportunity for defense surrounds the officer’s use of the breathalyzer, including proper training on the particular device and handling of the sample after taking the reading. The BAC sample must be stored properly, as well.
Lastly, was there anything inappropriate about how and when you were placed into custody with the police. This includes reading of your Miranda Rights, all the way through the moment you are placed in a holding or jail cell. A law enforcement officer must inform you when you are officially under arrest, not doing so gives rise to a clear defense. Later on, a law enforcement officer or prosecutor could break protocol, and the law, by interrogating or speaking with you, after you invoked the right to counsel.
If you are charged with DWI the single best thing you can do for your defense is hire a competent DWI Defense lawyer soon after your arrest. This will provide a defense lawyer the time and capacity to do a thorough investigation into your situation and build a robust defense to your DWI charge. Greco Neyland Attorneys at Law can take your DWI case. For a free consultation and the start of competent representation call (212) 951-1300.
The information in this blog post (“Post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this Post should be construed as legal advice from Greco Neyland Attorneys at Law or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.