Have You Been Charged with a DWI in New York City? We Will Protect Your Rights
Being arrested for a DWI is extremely stressful and intimidating. Your money, reputation, driving privileges and even your freedom could be on the line. At this point, you need to take immediate action to protect yourself. New York has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the entire country. If you have been charged with DWI or any related offense, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced New York City criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Attorney George Vomvolakis fights for the rights and interests of those who have been accused of a committing a criminal offense. We offer free, comprehensive consultations to all prospective clients. We will conduct an in-depth review of your case, and determine exactly what to do next to protect you.
New York DWI Laws
What is a DWI?
In New York, you can be charged with a DWI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit. The state’s maximum blood alcohol limit varies depending on the circumstances. It is:
- 0.08 if you are of the legal drinking age (21);
- 0.04 if you are driving a commercial vehicle; and
- 0.02 if you are under the age of 21
New York DWI – Related Offenses
All New York drivers should be aware of the fact that a person can be charged with a DWI in many different circumstances. Indeed, if deemed to be too impaired to safely drive, you may be charged with a criminal offense. Most often, these cases involve alcohol consumption. Though, you can also be charged with a DWI/drugs or a drugged driving offense if an officer deems you to be impaired by some type of alleged drug use. These cases can be more complicated, as New York police officers generally do not have the ability to test to determine the precise amount of various substances in a person’s system.
New York DWI – Aggravating Factors
A DWI conviction can come with very severe penalties. Notably, those penalties will vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. There are several different aggravating factors under New York state law that will increase the severity of your charges. In some cases, the presence of an aggravating factor can elevate a DWI charge from a misdemeanor offense to a felony offense. The following is a list of the four most common reasons why your DWI offense could be charged at a more severe level:
- Extreme intoxication: Under New York law, you can be charged with a felony DWI if your BAC level is above 0.18. A person’s BAC is quite difficult to measure accurately. As such, it is important to ensure that you are not overcharged simply because the police officers took a bad sample.
- Prior offenses: If you have already been convicted of a drunk driving offense or drugged driving offense in the past ten years, any subsequent DWI offense will be charged as a felony.
- A major accident: If you were driving while intoxicated, and you were involved in an accident that resulted in serious injuries to any other party, you can be charged with a felony DWI.
- Kid the car: Finally, a person can be charged with a felony DWI in New York state if they had a kid in the car, 15 years old or younger, at the time of the arrest.
The Consequences of a DWI Conviction
Not only could a DWI conviction cost you an enormous amount of money, but it could cost you your freedom. Ultimately, the consequences that you will face will always depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Your past criminal record (or lack thereof) matters, as does the amount of danger that you were putting the public in by drunk driving. Regardless, you could be feeling the effects of a DWI conviction for years to come. Some of the consequences that you face include:
- A criminal record: A DWI conviction could stay on your criminal record forever. This could cause you serious damage, potentially making it harder to find and keep a job, and even to get an apartment.
- Large fines: After being arrested for a DWI, you will likely face fines and potentially be required to pay court costs. Fines can vary widely, from $500 on the low-end, to $10,000 on the high end, and possibly even higher in limited cases.
- Skyrocketing insurance rates: If you are a convicted of a DWI, you will be required to report that adverse information to your insurance company. In the vast majority of cases, this will cause your insurance premiums to rise.
- Loss of your driver’s license: No one wants to lose their driver’s license. To save your license, you need to take immediate action after being arrested for a DWI. Call an attorney immediately. Even a first-time DWI charge could result in a 180 day administrative license suspension if you do not take steps to fight back.
- Jail time: Felony DWI convictions can sometimes result in very lengthy jail time. If you have been charged with any class of felony DWI, you need to get an aggressive lawyer by your side who will fight to protect your freedom.
- Reputational damage: Finally, drunk driving charges could cause damage to your personal reputation. Protecting your good name is important.
Know Your Rights
Police Officers Must Have Probable Cause to Pull You Over
As a general rule, a New York police officer cannot stop or detain a person unless they have probable cause. This means that the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that some type of traffic offense has been committed. Though, an officer does not necessarily need to suspect intoxicated driving at the outset to run subsequent field sobriety tests. In the event that you were stopped without probable cause, your New York DWI defense lawyer may be able to file a motion to suppress in order to get all evidence obtained after the illegal stop excluded from your case.
You Have a Right to Remain Silent
Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, anyone suspected of a crime has a legal right to remain silent. This means that you do not have to answer any questions from a police officer. If you have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, or if you are charged with any other crime, you should always exercise this right. What you say can and will be used against you by New York state prosecutors. You will not be able to talk your way out of trouble: Protect yourself by staying silent.
You are Entitled Access to Exculpatory Evidence
New York prosecutors are legally required to turn over any exculpatory evidence to the defense team. This means that if prosecutors or police officers have any evidence that might be in your favor, they must give that evidence to your attorney. Sadly, prosecutors sometimes drag their feet on this issue. Your New York City defense lawyer may need to file a Brady Demand to get the evidence turned over that might potentially prove that you were innocent.
You Have a Right to Consult With an Attorney for a DWI Charge
Perhaps your most important right is your right to consult with a qualified attorney. You can and should request access to your lawyer as soon as you are detained or arrested. Your lawyer will be able to make sure that all of your other legal rights are protected. Remember, the prosecutor’s office is staffed by legal professionals who have likely handled many DWI cases. They know the system. You need to get an experienced DWI attorney by your side as soon as possible to level the playing field.
You May Be Eligible for a Diversion Program
New York state has established ‘diversion’ programs for certain, first-time DWI offenders. In many cases, this program offers considerable benefits to the accused. Depending on the specific facts of your case, the best strategy to protect you might be to try to get yourself into one of New York’s Impaired Driver Programs (IDP). Through participation in this program, you may be able to keep your license from being suspended or revoked and you may be able to keep your criminal record clean. A qualified New York City DWI lawyer will be able to review the circumstances of your case and determine whether or not you will be eligible for the New York Impaired Driver Program.
Arrested for a DWI? Contact the Law Offices of George Vomvolakis Today
If you or a family member has been charged with a DWI in New York, you need to take immediate action. George Vomvolakis is a passionate DWI defense lawyer who will ensure that your legal rights are always fully protected. To request a free, no-obligation review of your case, please call us today at (212) 682-0700 or complete our short online contact form. From our office in the heart of Manhattan, our firm handles DWI cases in all five New York City boroughs as well as in Westchester County and on Long Island.