DUI Charge in New York?/

The truth is, no one ever intends to get a DWI. Circumstances often dictate our actions, and there is not a person alive who has not made the occasional bad decision.

But with a DWI, the critical issue is not what happened
— it’s how you react to it.

Charged with DWI: What Can You Do?

Being arrested for DWI can lead to a helpless, hopeless feeling. It’s hard to know how to act, and what to do, and to try to find a way to be pro-active and take back control of the situation. The way to answer these questions is to get help as soon as possible.

If you have questions about how we can help you or wish to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 917.554.8231. Our firm will work with you from start to finish. The Law Office of Michael D. Litman is well-versed in the most effective strategies for your defense and will guide you through all phases of the process.

Drunk Driving Charge Westchester County

Contact Michael D. Litman

If you’ve been accused, charged or arrested for DWI, you should contact the Law Office of Michael D. Litman, PLLC as soon as possible. Michael Litman, based in White Plains, NY, has over a decade of experience and knowledge defending those charged with DWI offenses. We serve residents of Westchester County, White Plains and the New York Metro area.

Arrested for Drunk Driving? Know Your Rights

Being accused of a crime does not mean you forfeit all your rights. Knowing your rights is always the first line of defense.

  • You may refuse to take a chemical test of your blood, breath (breathalyzer) or urine, which measures your blood alcohol content (BAC). There are advantages to refusing the test: primarily, there is no proof of what your BAC was. However, there are also penalties for refusing to take the chemical test. If you refuse on a first offense, you may lose your license for one year; for the second and third offense (with a prior conviction within five years), there will be an automatic 18-month license suspension. Multiple refusals and convictions can result in having a license permanently revoked.
  • The field sobriety tests (coordination tests) are voluntary, you can’t be forced to take them. If you do take the coordination tests, the officers will use the results of those tests, along with their observations of you to determine if there is probable cause to arrest you for DWI.
  • You may refuse consent to search your car, if asked. There must be probable cause that a crime was committed for an officer to look through the car without your permission.
  • You may ask the officer to turn the in-car video camera on if it is off.
  • You have the right to remain silent. You should act courteously and professionally and answer pertinent questions to allow processing (name, address), but no other conversation is necessary. It’s true – whatever you say can and will be used against you in court. If you say nothing, they can’t use your words against you.
  • You have the right to an attorney. An attorney is usually the keystone to your defense – retain counsel as soon as possible. The officers must give you the opportunity to contact an attorney, if you ask to call one, prior to your decision whether or not to take any chemical tests.

New York DWI Charge Specifics

Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) §1192 is the general section that covers operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

DWI Per Se (1192.2) is charged when there is a specific BAC reading between .08 and .17. That BAC reading most commonly comes from a breath test, but it can also come from a blood or urine test.

It can be charged as a misdemeanor, E felony or D felony, depending on the number of prior DWI convictions.

  • Charged as a misdemeanor if there are no prior DWI convictions within the last 10 years. The maximum penalty is 3 years of probation or one year in jail.
  • Charged as an E felony if there was one prior DWI conviction within the last 10 years. The maximum penalty is 5 years’ probation or up to 4 years in prison.
  • Charged as a D felony if there were two prior DWI convictions within the last 10 years. The maximum penalty is 5 years probation or up to 7 years in prison.

Aggravated DWI (1192.2a(a)) is charged when there is a blood alcohol reading of .18 or above. The level at which it is charged is similar to 1192.2, with the same maximum incarceration. The difference is Aggravated DWI has a higher fine and longer license suspension.

Aggravated DWI – Leandra’s Law (1192.2a(b)) is charged if you are alleged to have driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child aged 15 or younger as a passenger in the vehicle. This is charged as a felony, even if you have no prior DWI convictions.

DWI (1192.3) is charged based upon the officer’s observations, not a specific BAC. This is often charged then there is a refusal of the chemical test, or along with DWI based on BAC as an alternative theory of intoxication. The level of this offense is similar to 1192.2, as discussed above.

DWAI Drugs (1192.4) is charged when operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, as shown through a chemical test (usually urine), or through officer observation. The level of this offense is the same as 1192.2 above.

DWI Drugs and Alcohol Combined (1192.4a) is charged when operating a motor vehicle while impaired by the combined influence of drugs and alcohol, as determined through chemical tests. The level of this offense is the same as 1192.2 above.

DWI Defense in New York

It’s important to remember that being accused is not the same as being convicted. A day in court means the opportunity to be heard, and it also means your opportunity for you to defend yourself. We assure you that the Law Office of Michael Litman will be sure to use the best possible strategy to make sure you have the opportunity for the best possible outcome from your case.

The prosecution has to prove two things: (1) that you were operating a motor vehicle, and (2) that your ability to drive was impaired because of alcohol or drugs in your system. The defense, though, has countless strategies to fight back. A few of them include:

  • Operation – In order to prove operation, the DA must show that you were in the driver’s seat, with the engine running and the intent of driving the vehicle. If you didn’t have the intent to drive, technically that is not DWI.
  • Probable cause – The officer must have probable cause to pull over, detain or arrest. If probable cause did not exist, then evidence may be suppressed, and deemed inadmissible in court.
  • Officer observations – If it is possible to challenge the officer’s account, including his recollection of your driving, appearance, etc., it could discredit the process.
  • Valid Explanations — If you can offer valid explanations, it could put into question the process. For example, lack of sleep can account for disheveled appearance; or a medical condition can account for poor performance on coordination tests.

Example DUI Client Case

A client was driving to work before sunrise in Nassau County and was arrested and charged with DWI. As the breathalyzer showed .09 BAC, the prosecutor wanted our client to spend months in jail. However, we introduced a breathalyzer expert who testified to the jury about the potential failings of the machine. The jury deliberated for two days, after which they decided our client should not be charged with DWI. Instead of spending months in jail, our client was charged with misdemeanor DWAI, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to community service. More Client Results

Start Your DWI/DUI Defense Today

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. We have the knowledge and the experience to help with all your criminal defense needs. If you have questions or wish to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 917.554.8231.