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).