Imagine it: You are driving home from a small party at a friend’s house, when suddenly behind you appear the flashing lights of a police vehicle. You pull over to the side of the road. Following a confrontation with law enforcement, you are questioned about how much you had to drink. While most people feel uneasy in such situations, it helps to remember that law enforcement officers must follow certain laws during these encounters.

For example, law enforcement officers must have probable cause for a traffic infection to perform such a stop. While it helps to understand what probable cause means, it helps to understand some other critical details about driving while intoxicated (DWI) stops in New York. It also helps not hesitate to retain an experienced attorney if you are charged with driving while intoxicated or any other associated charge in New York State.

 

Assumptions During a Driving While Intoxicated Stop

Many people have false assumptions about the nature of DWI stops in New York. Consider the following assumptions and the associated realities:

 

  • Driving drunk is no big deal. Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that someone is injured in a drunk driving accident every two minutes. Consequently, New York State takes driving while intoxicated seriously. Charges of intoxicated driving can result in imprisonment, large fines, and other penalties.
  • You can drive fine while drunk. Drinking does various things to a person’s motor senses and body functions, resulting in erratic driving and swerving between lanes. This can, in turn, serve as signs of intoxication for law enforcement to perform a stop.
  • You do not smell like alcohol. Even if you do not think it is noticeable, many DWI investigations begin with law enforcement smelling alcohol on a person’s breath or in a person’s vehicle.
  • You have the right to refuse a breathalyzer or chemical test. While you can refuse to participate in these tests, understand that refusing to participate in testing will result in the automatic one-year revocation of your driver’s license. It is sometimes better to participate in testing and later defend law enforcement’s results.
  • Many people accused of DWI are guilty. One of the most widespread and harmful myths, a large number of DWI cases occur because law enforcement ends up relying on inaccurate information. There are countless ways to refute evidence from breathalyzers. Still, only the most experienced DWI attorneys understand how these machines work and create strong legal strategies to respond to these charges. Not to mention, law enforcement often attempts to bolster these test results with “opinion” evidence about a motorist’s behavior. This evidence is often not conclusive and vulnerable to many different interpretations. Bloodshot eyes do not always indicate intoxication and can also imply allergies or fatigue. Similarly, slurred speech is not always the result of drinking. A skilled DWI attorney can review the opposing side’s evidence and expose every weakness.
  • There is only one alcohol-related driving offense. In reality, a person can be charged with a countless number of alcohol-related violations in New York State. These offenses include driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, driving. At the same time, the ability is impaired by alcohol, driving. In contrast, the ability is impaired by a single drug other than alcohol, driving while the ability is impaired with a combined influence of drugs or alcohol, and chemical test refusal. Additionally, drivers who are less than 21 years of age who drive with anything above a .02 blood alcohol content level can be charged with violating the zero-tolerance law.

Defenses to DWI Charges

DWI charges in New York result in some serious penalties if a person is convicted of these charges. Fortunately, various defenses can be raised in response to DWI charges, which include:

 

  • Bad driving. Many DWI arrests begin with a motorist’s poor driving, like swerving between lanes or running red lights. What law enforcement might think is grounds for a DWI arrest might be just bad driving.
  • Field sobriety tests are inaccurate. Law enforcement often relies on field sobriety tests to assess whether a motorist is intoxicated. In reality, many sober motorists fail these tests. Many experienced DWI lawyers have encountered countless cases where these tests were inaccurate.
  • Improperly stored blood. One of the most common ways to attack driving while intoxicated charges is to argue that blood alcohol content results are inaccurate. It is common to argue that blood was not properly stored and that the sugar contained within the blood later turned to alcohol.
  • Miranda violations. Law enforcement often attempts to obtain as many statements from motorists as possible to show their intoxication later. It is never a good idea to speak to law enforcement if you have been pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Still, if law enforcement violates your Miranda rights, this can result in the suppression of statements.
  • Mistaken symptoms. Law enforcement sometimes mistakes physical symptoms for intoxication when in actuality, these signs result from another condition. Some symptoms commonly mistaken for intoxication include confusion, difficulty balancing, impaired memory, slurred speech, and an unsteady gait.
  • Mouth alcohol created high blood alcohol content. While breathalyzer machines are supposed only to register alcohol from a person’s lungs, sometimes skewed results occur because a person used mouthwash before testing.
  • Improper equipment. The machine to test blood alcohol content must be properly calibrated and sufficiently maintained. If law enforcement fails to keep equipment in proper order, the results can be suppressed.

 

Even being charged once with driving while intoxicated in New York State can result in serious penalties like imprisonment, fines, and a damaged social reputation. As a result, you should not hesitate to retain the assistance of an experienced New York DWI lawyer.

 

Contact a Knowledgeable DWI Attorney

The aftermath of being charged with a DWI can result in serious consequences. If you need the assistance of an experienced attorney to respond to these charges, contact Nave Law Firm today by calling 855-349-NAVE (6283).

 
 

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Nave Law wins suit against City of Albany to protect Reverend’s civil rights.

 

As part of Nave Law Firm’s efforts to give back to the communities we practice in, our own Derek Andrews took action after reading a Times Union article about a local woman’s plight against a local government who stonewalled her efforts to obtain body camera recordings of an incident that involved her.

 

In 2019, uniformed members of the Albany Police Department wearing body cameras forcibly removed Reverend Cheryl Hawkins, a street-reach minister in the New York Capital District, from a public park as she preached and sang Christian hymns, for which she had received a special event permit from the City of Albany. That removal violated her constitutionally-guaranteed rights to free expression. As part of a lawsuit, her civil rights attorney requested those body camera recordings from the city through New York’s Freedom of Information Law but was rebuffed, having been told that they were protected and confidential because of Civil Rights Law Section 50-a.

 

Mr. Andrews helped both Ms. Hawkins and her civil rights attorney by filing an Article 78 special proceeding, a type of lawsuit, against the City of Albany and the Albany Police Department, claiming that they violated Ms. Hawkins’ right to free access to body camera recordings of that incident.

 

Although the city produced those recordings before the conclusion of the lawsuit, Judge David Weinstein of the Albany County Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Andrews’ arguments when he issued a decision at the end of 2020 stating that Ms. Hawkins had substantially prevailed and that the city was unreasonable in originally denying her access. That last part meant that the city Times Union Article, which resulted in a five-figure settlement. Ms. Hawkins will now continue her lawsuit against Albany for violating her civil rights.

 

When asked for comment by Reverand Hawkins, she responded:

“Mr. Andrews saw the Times-Union Newspaper Front Page Huge Article (February 17, 2020). He then contacted my attorney and wanted to see how he could help.  He felt that I was facing an injustice.  I was already paying another lawyer big money to represent me, and I could not afford a second law firm.  Derek then spoke with the leadership team with Nave Law Firm, and the team decided to take the case at no cost to me.  

I was so grateful that he believed in me enough to advocate for me and cared enough to help me at no cost.

The best part is that he WON THE CASE; he even won the city’s and the cop’s appeal filed in Albany County after winning the case.”

 

Nave Law Firm is grateful for the opportunity to have assisted Ms. Hawkins in her pursuit of justice.

 

 

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Decriminalizing Possession of Hard Drugs

Oregon seems to be leading the way in the war . . . on the war on drugs while New York falls further behind. In a more sizable margin than either Biden or Trump would secure in this election, nearly 59% of citizens in Oregon voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Their decision also supported greater access to treatment for those who need it, which is paid for by the tax proceeds from marijuana sales. New York took a step in the right direction when they decriminalized possession of marijuana last year, but they remain several steps behind a large swath of the country that has legalized marijuana possession outright, including our next-door neighbors. While legislators and Governor Cuomo are interested in legalization, it’s unlikely to happen in the next year or two. Here’s why the legalization of marijuana, and other drugs, is worthwhile: not only would it ameliorate years of disproportionate effects of criminal drug possession on communities of color but it would give those with addictions greater access to higher-quality treatment. It also wouldn’t hurt to make some money by taxing those “products,” which could prove to be cleaner and safer than those cut with harmful and toxic chemicals. By the way, we certainly don’t mean to imply that it should be legal to drive while impaired by a drug, whether it’s legal or illegal. Please don’t do that.

We’re only suggesting that the war on drugs was misguided and that Oregon, and other states who are following suit, are headed in the right direction. Let’s convince New York to do the same.

https://scoop.upworthy.com/oregon-becomes-first-state-decriminalize-possession-of-hard-drugs

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New York State Driver’s License Issues

After receiving notice that your New York driver’s license has been revoked or suspended, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how to respond. During this difficult time, it is important to remember that you have the opportunity to fight for your driving privileges. An experienced New York driver’s license attorney can support you during this process. It also helps to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible about suspended and revoked licenses in New York State.

 

Reasons People are Summoned to Hearings in New York

Various factors might lead a person to be summoned to appear before the New York Department of Motor Vehicles for a hearing, but some of the most common reasons include:

 

  • Alcohol-related offenses like drunk driving.
  • Involvement in a deadly accident or an accident that resulted in a serious injury.
  • Refusing to submit to a breath test.
  • The accumulation of too many points on a person’s driver’s license.
  • Traveling at high speed.
  • Medical review.
  • Failure to pay tolls.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol when under 21.

Suppose your license has been revoked or suspended. In that case, a skilled traffic attorney can help create a plan to get back to driving as soon as possible while also helping you address fines, points,and limiting how the event will impact your motor vehicle insurance moving forward.

 

Restricted/Conditional Licenses in New York

 

Even though license suspension is a common result of many driving-related offenses in New York, drivers are still sometimes able to obtain either conditional or restricted licenses for purposes like commuting to work or school, transporting children to daycare, attending court-required classes, and traveling to medical appointments.

 

One of New York’s driving law’s most confusing areas is the difference between conditional and restricted licenses. The Department of Motor Vehicle issues conditional licenses to qualified drivers whose New York driver’s license was suspended or revoked due to an alcohol or drug-related violation. The Department of Motor Vehicles can also issue a restricted use license to a driver who qualifies and whose license is either suspended or revoked due to violations or incidents that are not alcohol or drug-related.

 

Suppose a person in New York State has had a conditional or restricted license issued within the past five years. In that case, the Department of Motor Vehicles will sometimes issue a restricted license provided the individual’s license was not revoked for alcohol use, criminal violations, or drug use.

 

If a person has not had a conditional or restricted license issued within the last five years, the individual might be eligible to complete an Impaired Driver Program. On successful completion of this program, an individual will receive a “Notice of Completion,” which in some cases will result in a person’s license being automatically restored or a person becomes eligible to apply for a new license. Remember, however, that a person will be dropped from the program and unable to obtain a conditional license if he or she does not attend class, does not satisfactorily participate, or does not pay program fees.

 

Multiple Alcohol or Drug-Related Driving Convictions

If your license is revoked and you have three or more DWI/DWAI-Drugs/DWAI convictions on your license, the DMV may be denying your ability to get relicensed. There are specific rules about your ability to get relicensed when this occurs.

 

If you have three or four alcohol/drug-related convictions, the DMV will likely deny your ability to get relicensed for a minimum of 5 years. If you have a serious driving offense on top of the three or four alcohol-related offenses, the DMV will deny your ability to get relicensed FOR LIFE.

 

If you have five or more alcohol/drug-related convictions, the DMV will deny your ability to get relicensed FOR LIFE.

 

If your license has been revoked because of multiple convictions, a skilled traffic attorney can help create a plan so you can get back.

 

Numerous Suspensions on Your License

If your license is suspended because you failed to answer traffic infractions or pay a fine, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony the next time you get pulled over.

 

The reason for this is because every time you fail to answer a traffic infraction or fail to pay a fine, the Court will put a SCOFF, or a suspension, on your license.

 

You must speak to an attorney about your license status if you fall into this category. An experienced attorney will know how to handle and take care of the suspensions on your license so that you can drive free and clear.

 

How a New York Driver’s License Attorney can Help

Whether you need counsel at a DMV hearing, it is your first time DWI, you failed to answer a traffic infraction, or you have multiple convictions, an experienced attorney can help you get your license back.

 

Contact an Experienced Driver’s License Attorney

If you are convicted of a driver’s license offense in New York, you can end up facing some serious consequences. One of the best ways to handle these charges is to retain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact Nave Law Firm at 855-349-NAVE (6283) today.

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