New York DWI Lawyer

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In the state of New York, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is similar to what is described as driving under the influence (DUI) in many other jurisdictions. It is also possible to be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI) or, if a combination of alcohol and drugs has been consumed, you may be charged with a Drug-DWAI. In all of these situations, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels are taken into account and can impact the severity of an offense as well as the legal considerations and possiblepenalties.

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If you have been charged with DWI/DUI, contact an aggressive New York criminal defense attorney at (718) 878-3781. Begin your case with a free consultation!

Factors Impacting Impairment

There are many factors that must be taken into account when determining whether a person is impaired. While alcohol certainly is the major contributing factor, other variables are also present.

The following factors can impact impairment:

  • The amount of alcohol consumed
  • The amount of non-alcoholic food and beverages consumed before, during, and after alcohol
  • The duration of alcohol consumption
  • Your gender
  • Your body weight and physical composition

Defending against DWI/DUI Charges

Our team thoroughly investigates the circumstances leading up to your arrest. Just because you failed a breathalyzer test does not mean you are guilty. Even burping can skew the results of that specific test, making it a piece of evidence against you that is not entirely reliable. Similarly, standard field sobriety tests have also been proven to be less-than-reliable means of determining whether or not someone is intoxicated. Our New York DUI/DWI attorney can challenge the evidence against you and fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf!

The Harsh Reality of a DWI Conviction in New York State
Approximately one in three traffic deaths in New York state involves someone driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. It is therefore understandable why a DUI conviction anywhere in the state can result in a harsh penalty. However, the punishment imposed will depend upon a number of factors.
The lowest grade of DUI offense pertains to drivers whose abilities have been impaired, which means that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures between 0.05 and 0.07 percent. The first conviction is considered only a traffic infraction, but can still result in a fine of at least $300, up to 15 days in jail and a 90-day revocation of the person’s license. A second offense occurring within five years of the first can result in a fine of at least $500, up to 30 days in jail and a loss of driving privileges for at least six months. Three or more offenses occurring within 10 years of the previous convictions are considered misdemeanors, with convictions resulting in a minimum fine of $750, a maximum jail term of three months and a loss of driving privileges for at least six months.
The offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI), or with a BAC of 0.08 percent or above, is a misdemeanor that can result in a minimum fine of $500, up to a year in jail and the revocation of one’s license for at least six months. Subsequent offenses of this type are considered felonies, with those so convicted losing their driving privileges for at least one year. A second DWI conviction can result in a minimum fine of $1,000 and a jail term of up to four years. Anyone convicted of three or more DWI offenses could face a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to seven years behind bars.
The most serious consequences face those convicted of aggravated DWI, which can be imposed when the BAC of the motorist is 0.18 percent or higher. A first offense of this type is a misdemeanor, which can result in a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Subsequent offenses occurring within 10 years of the first are considered felonies, with a second conviction resulting in a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to four years in jail and three or more convictions resulting in a minimum fine of $2,000 and up to seven years behind bars. Additionally, those convicted of aggravated DWI can expect to lose their driving privileges for at least one year.
Those under 21 who are convicted of any DUI offense will lose their licenses for at least one year. Additionally, motorists convicted of misdemeanor or felony DUI offenses will be required to have breath-operated ignition systems built into their vehicles, with installation costs being charged to them.
What “Special Conditions” go with DWI

The special conditions that apply for a DWI conviction vary from state to state. The type of offense will also determine the specific stipulations placed on your sentencing. Probation and the suspension of your license are two forms of punishment that accompany DWI charges. The point of probation for an individual convicted of DWI is to introduce limitations and treatment efforts to help with recovery. This period is also an opportunity to show reform and adherence to the law. Some standard conditions for a DWI conviction are supervision by a probation officer, unannounced testing, and community service.

In instances where an accused person is guilty of a subsequent offense, the court can mandate the installation of an ignition interlock device. This tool detects the presence of alcohol on the driver’s breath and disables the vehicle. In some regions, an ignition interlock device is mandatory for a second, third, and fourth DWI offense. However, a judge can also order an IID for a first offender if the installation is considered necessary for the purpose of justice.

Another special stipulation is alcohol evaluation and admission to a treatment program. The court can decide that the accused needs professional alcohol evaluation regularly to which you must submit. A court can request an individual to get treatment towards rehabilitation. The duration of the program will depend on the degree of the crime and instance of the offense.

In severe cases of driving while intoxicated, the judge may order a SCRAM bracelet– an alcohol monitoring device that has to be worn throughout. Some states have gun restrictions as part of the special circumstances for a DWI. If found guilty, you may not be able to own any firearm.

It is imperative to follow the terms of a probation sentencing to the letter. Any violation of the special conditions can lead to a violation of the sentencing, which gives a probation officer the right to report you. The breach of probationary terms can result in a jail sentence. A court can also choose to extend your probation period or impose even harsher conditions than before. Courts consider various factors before issuing special conditions for DWI convictions the type of defense will, therefore, matter a great deal, especially when facing a complicated DWI case.

What is a “zero tolerance” DUI law?

Drinking while under the age of 21 is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You make matters worse when you decide to drive while under the influence of alcohol. If you’re pulled over and it is determined that you’ve been drinking and driving, you’ve got a new set of worries to deal with.

A “Zero Tolerance” DUI law is exactly what it suggests. It applies to drivers under the age of 21 who have been caught drinking and driving. There is “zero tolerance” for such behavior so the risk is greater than it is for adults who opt to drink and drive.

You see, there are two punishable offenses. The first is underage drinking. The second is DUI.

The law frowns upon both. In fact, if you get convicted of a DUI under the “Zero Tolerance” law, you’re subject to punishment by your state. It could mean jail time for you or a fine if not both.

A DUI stays on your driving record even after you’re of legal age. The long-term implications are not worth the hassle. It is illegal for you to drink even the smallest amount of alcohol and drive.

The reason there are such strict laws against it has to do with the number of accidents that occur with drivers under the age of 21. Night-time crashes involving a single car decreased in many states after “Zero Tolerance” was adopted.

A DUI can make it difficult for you to find a job or even be trusted with a vehicle. If you were driving with passengers in the car, there is a good likelihood that the individuals or the parents of the underage riders will not want them to ride with you again. Tarnishing your reputation and breaking the law is not worth the risk.

Young people who want to drink should wait until they’re of age to do so. Even then, they should be responsible enough to find a designated driver, that is one who has not drunk alcohol, to drive them home. Hiring a taxi cab or rideshare service is advisable for drinkers of legal age.

Will I have to get a breath test device on my car?

If you are convicted on a DUI/DWI charge the court may order you to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock, also known as an ignition interlock device, on your vehicle as a condition of your probation. These devices are designed to prevent an intoxicated driver from starting the vehicle by requiring that a breath sample be provided to the device before a vehicle can be started.

Most interlock devices measure your breath sample according to your state’s definition of presumed intoxication/impairment. In most jurisdictions, this is 0.08%. If your breath sample exceeds this amount, your will be unable to start your vehicle. Some interlocks are also programmed to shut down your vehicle’s ignition for a preset period of time following a breath sample that exceeds your state’s definition of presumed intoxication. This is to prevent a driver who fails a breath test from simply having someone else provide a breath sample after the interlock detects alcohol.

If the court orders that an interlock device be installed on your vehicle, you must pay for its installation and you will probably have to present proof of installation to your probation officer or some other officer of the court. If your vehicle was impounded at the time of your arrest, you will also be responsible for paying any fees or other charges that must be paid before you can retrieve your vehicle to have the interlock installed.

Since interlock devices are expensive (typically $600 and up) your NYC dwi lawyer may be able to argue that installing such a device would impose a financial burden on you and your family. If he or she can successfully present that argument, the court may impose additional restrictions in lieu of an interlock.

As always, a DUI/DWI charge is a very serious matter. If you have been charged with this offense it is always advised that you be represented by an NYC DWI attorney who is familiar with the DUI/DWI laws in your state. Retaining the services of an aggressive NYC DWI defense attorney is always the best course of action if you are facing such charges.

What is “blood alcohol content” (BAC) or level?

Blood alcohol content, also known as BAC, is how much alcohol is currently in an individual’s bloodstream. This allows police to know how intoxicated an individual is and how it impacts their decision making. The legal limit is at or below .08 percent for every state to ensure that individuals do not operate a motor vehicle while their cognitive and physical abilities are impaired beyond an acceptable level.

Calculating BAC is simple enough to conduct and is done with a breathalyzer device on a regular basis by the police. The impaired individual breathes into the device and it measures how much alcohol is in the bloodstream in decimal form. A BAC of 0 indicates no alcohol content and any number above this indicates some level of alcohol impairment.

Impairment begins at levels as low as .02 or around two drinks for a man that is 160 pounds consumed in an hour. At this level, individuals experience a rise in body temperature and begin to relax more than usual, which can impair reaction time and decrease visual functions. It’s also more difficult for a person to do two things at the same time. A

At .05 percent BAC an individual can be charged with driving under the influence, which is a lesser charge and version of driving while intoxicated or DWI. This level of impairment includes exaggerated behavior, lower level of alertness, and difficulty with steering and slower response time to distractions such as other drivers or an animal running into the road.

At .08 percent, which is the threshold for a conviction of driving while intoxicated, muscle coordination required for balance, speech and reaction time slows and it is more difficult to exercise self-control or wise judgment. It’s not as easy to stop suddenly and it’s common to have difficulty staying in your lane.

Blood alcohol content is a way to measure the level of alcohol in an individual’s blood to determine their level of impairment. It can be a useful way for law enforcement to determine whether a person can be charged with the offense.

What are the “usual” probation conditions?

When you go to court and the judge grants you probation instead of sentencing you to jail at that time, think of it like a second chance to learn from the mistakes that you have made. The length of probation is often determined based on the type of crime you committed and if you’ve been in trouble in the past. There are a few usual conditions that most people will have to follow when they are on probation. If you don’t follow these conditions, then you could spend time in jail or have your term extended.

You will probably be ordered to take some kind of class that goes along with the charges you received, such as a drug class. You might be ordered to attend counseling sessions either individually or in a group. You’ll usually have to take and pass drug tests. The number of tests that you have to take will usually depend on the crime you committed. If you were charged with anything involving drugs or alcohol, then you’ll usually have to take more tests than someone who is charged with shoplifting. You’ll also have to pass the drug tests that you take. If you don’t, then the probation officer can submit a violation which could mean going to jail or stricter guidelines.

Most probation conditions include avoiding certain people or locations. These would be the people who were involved in the crime committed and locations where you aren’t wanted or where you could get in trouble again. You are not to commit another crime while you’re on probation. Another condition that is often required of people who are on probation is paying fines each month. The amount is determined based on the charges and if there is restitution that needs to be paid to victims. You will probably be subjected to home visits by the probation officer and need to visit the probation officer once a month.

Can I be arrested for a DWI in a Non-Moving Vehicle?

Driving while intoxicated infers someone took to the roads in an inebriated state. In most instances, this basic description fits most situations in which someone has been arrested for a DWI. However, a person does not need to actually be driving to be charged with a DWI offense. State laws do differ, but many jurisdictions do bar getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. Even if you aren’t driving, sitting in a non-moving, parked car while drunk can lead to arrest.

The Possibility of Dangerous Driving

Concerns exist that someone who is intoxicated and, while not driving at the present, clearly is capable of doing so. All the person has to do is turn the key in the ignition and pull away from the parking spot. In doing so, the driver then creates an obvious and dangerous hazard. Police officers take the potential to drive away with the vehicle into consideration when discovering a drunk person inside a car.

Arrest vs. Guilt

Although the police may arrest someone who is intoxicated and seated in a vehicle, an arrest does not automatically mean a jury would find the person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The case might never even reach the trial stage. A judge could dismiss the charges or the charges may be withdrawn.

Other issues could complicate matters for the prosecution. Did the police truly have probable cause? Did any illegal searches occur? An NYC DWI defense attorney can probe the case to determine if any rights were violated or if the arrest was an outright false one.

Those charged with a DWI under unclear circumstances may be able to fight the charges with the right legal representation. NYC dwi lawyers with experience handling DWI defenses look over the specifics of a clients case and decide on the approach to take.

The DWI Law firm of  Robert

Tsigler, PLLC is Ready to Fight for You!

Getting representation as soon as possible following any DWI or DUI-related charge is the best way to promote a positive result from a subsequent trial. These charges are considered very serious and can result in expensive fines, the loss of driving privileges or professional licenses, and even incarceration. Only an experienced New York DWI lawyer can successfully defend your case.

If you or have been charged with a DWI/DUI, contact the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC as early as possible so that we can build a solid defense strategy. We are available 24/7!

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