WESTCHESTER DUI LAWYER

If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact a Westchester DUI lawyer at the Law Office of Michael D. Litman today. Driving under the influence, also known as DUI is a serious charge. This article will let you know a little more about the charges you’re facing and what you can do to deal with them.

Nobody sets out to get a DUI charge. But if you have a few drinks and get out on the road, these things can happen. Drinking and driving can lead to serious accidents which can cause additional charges to be filed if a person is injured or killed due to an accident.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact Mike to learn about the process after you’re charged with a DUI. We offer a free consultation, so there’s no obligation when you pick up the phone or send us an email. Contact our DUI attorney at 917-554-8231 and we’ll let you know your options.

HOW A DUI ATTORNEY CAN HELP

Though testing for DUI is viewed by police and prosecutors as being virtually infallible, there are many accounts of a good attorney’s having this “airtight” evidence either exposed or thrown out altogether at trial. The timing of the test may have passed the two-hour maximum between arrest and testing. Or chain of custody of the evidence may have been broken. Or maybe the evidence is “tainted” by impurities in the sample. And, sometimes, a good DUI attorney can show that the police officer had no probable cause to stop the defendant, or that the field sobriety tests were not properly given.

When prosecutors know they have less-than-perfect evidence, a seasoned Westchester DUI lawyer can get a reduction in the charge, from a criminal offense, to a lesser charge. So don’t automatically think, just because you failed a chemical test for alcohol, that you are automatically convicted.

DUI OFFENSES IN THE WESTCHESTER, NY AREA

Driving under the influence includes a range of charges, each of which is handled in a slightly different way. For example, an individual with a higher blood alcohol level may be charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, instead of simply driving while intoxicated. An individual found guilty of multiple cases of driving under the influence within a 10-year period will face harsher penalties on subsequent offenses.

Driving while intoxicated

The penalty for driving while intoxicated is a fine of $500 to $1,000, jail time for up to one year, license revocation for at least six months, and having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle for one year. Subsequent offenses may receive stiffer penalties.

Aggravated driving while intoxicated

The penalty for aggravated driving while intoxicated is a fine of $1,000 to $2,500, up to one year in jail, license revocation for at least one year, and having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle for one year. Subsequent offenses may receive stiffer penalties.

Driving while ability impaired by alcohol

The penalty for driving with ability impaired by alcohol is a fine of $300 to $500, up to 15 days in jail, and license suspension for 90 days.

Driving while ability impaired by a single drug other than alcohol

The penalty for driving while impaired by a drug is a fine of $500 to $1,000, jail time for up to one year, and license suspension for at least six months. Subsequent offenses may receive stiffer penalties.

Driving while ability impaired by a combined influence of drugs or alcohol

The penalty for driving while ability impaired by a combination of alcohol/drugs is a fine of $500 to $1,000, jail time for up to one year, license revocation for at least six months, and having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle for one year if the offense involved alcohol. Subsequent offenses may receive stiffer penalties.

Zero tolerance law

The Zero tolerance law applies when a driver under the age of 21 drives with a BAC between .02 and .07. The penalty for breaking the zero tolerance law is a $125 fine, six-month license suspension, and a $100 fee to terminate the suspension.

Out-of-state offenses

An individual convicted of a DUI offense in another state may have his or her license revoked for at least 90 days. If the individual is less than 21 years old, the license will be revoked for at least a year.

TYPES OF DUI TESTS IN WESTCHESTER NY

Regardless of what you are suspected of driving under the influence of, the police must have probable cause to stop you. Once you are stopped for a DUI, the police must then have reason to believe that you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in order to have probable cause to administer sobriety tests (SFSTs). If you fail the sobriety tests, the police officers will have probable cause to administer a breath test in the field, or to arrest you if you refuse to take the test. After you are arrested, a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine can be requested. If you take the test, the results will determine what you can be charged with. If you refuse to take the chemical test, you can still be charged with DUI if the officer’s observations are sufficient.

Field Sobriety Tests

DUI coordination tests, also known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), can be used by police officers in at the scene of a car stop to try to determine intoxication. The three main tests administered by police officers are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), nine-step-walk-and-turn, and one-leg-stand. The HGN test looks for involuntary movement in your eyes in response to a moving stimulus. The nine-step-walk-and-turn test, and one-leg-stand test measure your balance, physical coordination, ability to follow instructions. Police officers look for specific clues in each of the tests, which have been determined to be signs of intoxication. Some of the signs of intoxication are: losing your balance, not following instructions you are given, and delayed responses to them. If you fail the coordination tests, it gives the officer probable cause to administer further tests.

Breath Tests

The next test you may be immediately requested to take is a breath test, especially if you are involved in an accident. If the results show that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or more, then you will be taken to a police station (or hospital if you are injured), and asked to take a chemical test. This could involve a test of breath, urine or blood. If your BAC is .08 or higher, you will be charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Blood & Urine Tests

A blood or urine test may also given to find out if you are driving under the influence of drugs, but determining probable cause to draw the blood is based primarily on officer observation or evidence that you have taken drugs (such as drug paraphernalia being found in your possession at the time you are stopped).

DON’T WAIT TO SPEAK WITH A WESTCHESTER DUI LAWYER

The DUI laws in NY are complex and it’s best to entrust navigating the legal system to a skilled and experienced Westchester DUI lawyer. If you want to understand your DUI charges and potential penalties, contact Mike for help today. Call our team at 917-554-8231.

CAN I REFUSE A BREATH, BLOOD OR URINE TEST?

You may refuse to take a breath, blood or urine chemical test. But if you do, that refusal may be used against you as consciousness of guilt. Additionally, many prosecutors will not make an offer to reduce a DUI charge if you refused to take the chemical test. The DMV may also administer civil penalties based upon the refusal.

  • First time refusal: $300 civil fine and one-year license revocation
  • First time refusal with a DUI conviction on your record within the last 5 years: $750 civil fine and 18-month license revocation
  • Second or subsequent refusal: $750 civil fine and 18-month license revocation.

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF AN IMPAIRED DRIVING CHARGE IN NY?

One penalty that is immediately felt after an impaired driving charge is your insurance rates go up; only a few carriers will insure you, but for much more than what you paid prior to your DUI. Many insurance carriers will drop you after only one DUI conviction. If you have more than one DUI, it is virtually impossible to get auto liability insurance in New York.

And if you drive for a living (perhaps as a commercial trucker or for a cab company or ride-hailing service), you’ll likely lose your job.

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WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN ARRESTED FOR A DUI-RELATED OFFENSE

Should you ever be arrested for a DUI-related offense, the most important thing is that you don’t incriminate yourself any further. Do not admit to anything, including having drank any alcohol, you are not required to talk to the police officer. Don’t try to talk the officer out of arresting you. If the officer has already taken out the cuffs, the decision has already been made. It’s much more likely that you’ll say something that will hurt your case than that you’ll convince the officer to change his or her mind. You have the right to remain silent. This is the time to use it. As soon as you’re able, seek legal counsel with an experienced Westchester DUI Lawyer.

CONTACT OUR WESTCHESTER, NY DUI ATTORNEY

Since 2014, the Law Office of Michael D. Litman has been representing the criminal defense needs of the citizens of White Plains, Westchester County and the New York Metro area. With DUI attorney Michael Litman defending his clients since 2007, we have the knowledge and the experience to help with all your DUI defense needs. If you have questions or need to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us today at 917-554-8231. Our firm will work with you from the DUI arraignment all the way through trial.