9    Most    

Frequently     Asked     Questions    

  About  A  New  York  DWI  

MOST  FAQ  ABOUT  A  NEW  YORK  DWI       1    

Now  that  you’ve  been  arrested  for  DWI  you’re  going  to  have  lots  of  questions.     The  law  surrounding  New  York  DWI  is  ever  changing.  On  August  15,  2010  New  York  State  added   new  laws  and  consequences  for  DWI  including  a  mandatory  ignition  interlock  device  for  all  first   time  convictions.  These  new  laws  have  not  yet  been  fully  applied,  tested,  and  ruled  on  by  the   courts.  My  legal  advice  on  these  matters  may  change  as  the  Courts  give  us  guidance  on  these  new   areas  of  law.    The  following  are  the  most  frequently  asked  questions  I  get.    

  If  you  submitted  to  a  chemical  test  (the  test  back  at  the  police  station  or  at  the  trooper   barracks)  of  your  blood  (usually  a  breath  test),  and  had  a  .08  BAC  or  more,  your  license  will  be   suspended  at  the  arraignment  (initial  appearance).  If  you  refused  the  breath  test  your  license  will   also  be  suspended  but  you  will  be  ineligible  for  a  hardship  or  conditional  license  while  your  case  is   pending.     If  you  had  a  valid  driver's  license  prior  to  the  suspension  and  did  not  have  a  prior  conviction  for   Driving  While  Intoxicated  or  Driving  While  Ability  Impaired,  or  complete  the  Drinking  Driver   Program  within  the  proceeding  five  (5)  years,  you  may  be  eligible  for  a  conditional  license  after   the  first  30  days.  The  conditional  license  will  be  issued  by  the  Department  of  Motor  Vehicles.               You  may  be  eligible  for  a  hardship  license.  At  the  arraignment  your  attorney  can  apply  for   a  hardship  privilege  and  present  evidence  to  get  this  special  and  limited  license.  To  be  eligible,  the   court  must  determine  that  you  will  be  subject  to  "extreme  hardship"  without  this  license.   "extreme  hardship"  is  defined  under  the  law  as:       .  .  .  the  inability  to  obtain  alternative  means  of  travel  to  or  from  the  licensee's  employment,  or  to  or   from  necessary  medical  treatment  for  the  licensee  or  a  member  of  the  licensee's  household,  or  if   the  licensee  is  a  matriculating  student  enrolled  in  an  accredited  school,  college  or  university  travel   to  or  from  such  licensee's  school,  college  or  university  if  such  travel  is  necessary  for  the   completion  of  the  educational  degree  or  certificate.       This  license/privilege  is  strictly  limited  to  “to  and  from”  work  and  not  “for”  work.   This  privilege  only  allows  the  driver  to  operate  their  vehicle  to  and  from  their  place  of   employment,  school,  or  medical  care.  It  does  not  allow  a  driver  to  operate  a  vehicle  for  work.     NOTE:  Conditional  licenses  issued  by  the  DMV  (not  the  Court)  can  be  used  FOR  work.            
Copyright © 2011 Lawrence A. Newman  


  Will  my  license  be  suspended?  


Can  I  get  a  temporary  license  at  the  initial  appearance?  



The  police  gave  me  2  or  3  different  DWI  tickets   (charges)  what  does  that  mean?  

    Under  NYS  law  you  could  be  found  guilty  of  more  than  one  type  of  DWI  at  the  same  time.  One  DWI   is  based  upon  your  mental  and  physical  behavior,  and  the  other  types  of  DWI  are  based  upon  a   blood  or  breath  alcohol  level.  Discuss  these  different  charges  with  an  attorney.  On  November  1,   2006,  those  with  a  BAC  of  .18%  or  higher,  are  now  facing  a  charge  called  Aggravated  Driving  While   Intoxicated,  which,  like  Driving  While  Intoxicated,  is  an  unclassified  misdemeanor.  This  charge   does,  however,  carry  stiffer  fines  and  harsher  sanctions  to  your  driver  license.       If  you  have  prior  alcohol-­‐related  convictions  you  may  also  be  facing  a  Felony  level  DWI.  If  you  had   a  prior  alcohol-­‐related  conviction  in  others  state  this  may  or  may  not  impact  your  current  charges.   These  convictions  will  normally  show  up  on  a  criminal  record  check.         In  November  2006  New  York  State  mandated  alcohol  evaluations  and  screenings  for  DWI   cases  must  be  performed  by  OASAS  certified  evaluators.  OASAS  stands  for  Office  of   Alcohol  and  Substance  Abuse  Services.       After  a  DWI  arrest  you  must  have  a  "screening"  for  alcohol  abuse/dependency  within  30  days  of   your  initial  appearance  if  you  had  a  BAC  (blood  alcohol  concentration)  of.12  or  higher  on  your   chemical  breath  test.  A  screening  is  merely  a  written  test.       The  next  step  up  in  the  process  so  to  speak  is  an  "evaluation"  for  alcohol  abuse/dependency   within  30  days  of  the  initial  appearance  if  you  had  a  BAC  (blood  alcohol  concentration)  of.15  or   higher  on  your  chemical  breath  test.  Some  evaluators  take  one  long  session  to  perform  an   evaluation,  while  some  could  take  up  to  four  sessions  to  make  an  evaluation.  Cost  of  these  sessions   runs  about  $80  to  $90  per  session.  So  one  long  eval  might  cost  around  $175  or  four  might  cost  up   to  $400.       An  evaluation  is  an  "interview"  with  a  counselor,  and  as  of  2011  should  include  a  urine  screen   NOTE:  urine  tests  check  for  specific  quantities  of  drugs  while  urine  screens  are  generally  very   sensitive  for  all  drugs  or  substances.  It  is  also  common  for  the  counselor  to  obtain  "collaterals"   from  you.  A  collateral  is  contact  information  about  people  who  know  you  and  have  seen  your   behavior,  typically  your  drinking  and/or  drugging  behavior.  These  people  will  be  contacted  to   confirm  what  you  tell  the  evaluator.  In  theory  people  with  drug/alcohol  problems  lie,  and   therefore  these  collateral  sources  would  be  a  potential  barometer  of  your  truthfulness  and/or   sobriety.         MOST  FAQ  ABOUT  A  NEW  YORK  DWI       3    


Will  I  have  to  get  a  drug  and  alcohol  evaluation?  


The  purpose  of  the  evaluation  is  to  determine  if  you  are  a  person  who  needs  help.  Are  you   a  person  with  a  problem  with  drugs  and/or  alcohol?  The  evaluator  must  diagnose  whether  you   are  an  alcohol/drug  abuser,  and  have  an  abuse  diagnosis  or  are  you  chemical  (alcohol/drug)   dependent.  This  is  a  critical  determination,  and  should  never  be  taken  light.  The  Court  can  send   you  to  out  patient  treatment  and/or  a  period  of  probation.         My  fast  answer  is  usually  not.  DWI  is  an  unclassified  misdemeanor.  It  is  punishable  by  up   to  one  year  in  jail,  but  typically  first  time  DWI  charges  with  no  prior  criminal  history  will   not  be  facing  jail  time.  That  said,  probation  is  a  possibility  at  sentencing,  and  in  many  cases  losing   your  rights  and  freedom  to  probation  is  worse  than  any  jail  sentence.           I  will  start  out  by  stating  a  clear  and  unequivocal  NO!  and  then  give  you  my  reasons.   If  you  involved  in  something  personally  it  is  impossible  to  remain  objective.  Most  even  very   intelligent  people  do  not  understand  the  legal  system.  Even  relatively  simple  burdens  of  proof   between  license  issues  (administrative)  and  criminal  issues  are  vastly  different.  Most  attorneys  in   2011  have  to  specialize  and  focus  in  a  particular  area  of  law.     The  attorney  that  understands  and  spends  years  practicing  primarily  divorce  law  may  not  know   how  to  handle  a  speeding  ticket  let  alone  DWI  charges.  Different  areas  of  the  state,  county,  city   have  local  rules  and  customs.  How  a  Judge  or  Prosecutor  proceeds  with  your  DWI  case  may  differ   greatly  by  how  some  other  person  may  handle  it  in  another  part  of  the  state  or  county.  A  DWI  in   Manhattan  uses  a  different  breath  machine,  the  Intoxilyzer  8000  versus  the  Datamaster  BAC  and   the  Draeger  Alcotest  (State  Police)  in  upstate  New  York.     There  are  usually  collateral  issues  (ie.  license)  that  need  to  be  addressed.  Dealing  with  the  DMV   and  ALJs  (Administrative  Law  Judges)  at  DMV  refusal  hearings  is  another  potential  aspect  of  DWI   cases  that  is  overlooked  by  many  non-­‐attorneys.     There  are  often  potential  pragmatic  issues  that  need  to  be  thought  through.  How  will  your  case   impact  your  out  of  state  license?  What  are  the  potential  penalties  and  future  ramifications  to  your   specific  job  or  profession?     What  if  your  case  requires  a  hearing,  motions,  or  a  trial  what  then?  Are  you  certified  in   Standardized  Field  Sobriety  testing?  Do  you  know  the  standards?  Are  you  familiar  with  the   forensic  science  behind  Breath  testing?  Have  you  ever  cross-­‐examined  a  police  officer?  Have  you   ever  presented  evidence?  Have  you  ever  picked  a  jury?  Would  you  know  what  to  look  for  after  you    
Copyright © 2011 Lawrence A. Newman  


What’s  the  purpose  of  the  alcohol  evaluation?    


Will  I  go  to  jail  on  a  first  time  DWI?  


Should  I  represent  myself  for  a  DWI?  

obtain  the  police  reports,  breath  test  documents,  and  other  discovery?  Have  you  read  many  of   these?  Do  you  understand  police  procedures  and  protocols?  Would  you  be  able  to  pick  out   problems  with  the  processing  of  your  case?  Would  you  know  what  was  missing  from  police   reports  and  other  documents?     What's  not  there  is  as  important  as  what  is  there.  Can  you  read  in  between  the  lines?   Is  it  possible  for  you  to  look  over  one  case  (your  own)  in  a  vacuum  and  have  any  insight,   perspective,  and/or  place  it  on  the  spectrum  in  comparison  to  any  other  cases?  Do  you  have  a  firm   grasp  of  current  DWI  case  law?  Can  you  pick  out  the  legal  issues  and  research  them?  Can  you  spot   any  potential  defenses?     Do  you  believe  that  the  Government  prosecutor  will  negotiate  with  you  fairly,  in  good  faith,  and   the  same  way  as  if  you  were  represented?  Do  you  think  you  are  on  “even”  ground  when  talking   with  the  district  attorney?  Does  he  know  more  about  your  situation  than  you  do?  It  is  often  said   that  people  who  represent  themselves  have  a  fool  for  a  client,  don't  be  foolish.      


What  are  the  chances  of  having  all  my  DWI  charges   dropped?  In  other  words,  can  I  just  get  off?  

Not  having  any  charges,  or  having  them  all  dismissed  by  the  District  Attorney  or  Judge,  and  then   being  found  not  guilty  of  everything...     First,  how  common  is  this?  Not  common,  but  it  can  happen.  If  there  is  no  PC  (Probable  Cause)  for   the  stop  of  the  car  then  all  the  "fruits"  of  that  stop  ie.  the  breath  test  is  then  a  "poisoned"  fruit  of   the  illegal  stop,  and  it  is  therefore  inadmissible.  Attorneys  call  this  the  "fruit  of  the  poisonous  tree."   PC  in  New  York  is  a  legitimate  reason  for  a  stop,  usually  a  traffic  or  an  equipment  violation.  We  can   also  raise  issues  concerning  PC  to  make  an  arrest  but  this  is  usually  a  small  hurdle  for  the  Police  to   surmount  with  the  stop  officer  talking  about  odor  of  alcohol,  slurring  of  speech,  bloodshot  eyes,   etc.  Remember  that  the  DWI  common  law  charge,  VTL  1192  (3)  is  based  on  the  OPINION!  of  the   officer.     Second,  District  Attorneys  make  offers  but  usually  do  not  let  people  completely  OFF  of  all  charges.   It  is  a  fantasy.  Some  people  want  so  badly  to  believe  in  a  FANTASY.  Maybe  it's  human  nature,  but  if   it  sounds  too  good  to  be  true,  it  probably  is  BS.     Third,  the  REALITY  in  many  situations  is  that  a  Judge  cannot  accept  a  plea  to  reduce  an   Aggravated  DWI  (DWI  per  se  with  a  BAC  (blood  alcohol  concentration)  of  0.18  or  more)  to  a  DWAI   (Driving  While  Ability  Impaired),  a  traffic  offense,  without  strong  reasons.  To  further  believe  that   a  Judge  or  District  Attorney  would  dismiss  the  charges  outright  would  equate  with  winning  the   lottery  or  being  struck  by  lighting.     Fourth,  the  big  win  in  New  York  State  is  a  reduction  to  a  DWAI  because  of  two  reasons:    

MOST  FAQ  ABOUT  A  NEW  YORK  DWI       5    

1.  The  proof  required  is  "any  extent  of  impairment,"  a  small  burden  of  proof  compared  to   intoxication  (DWI,  which  requires  mental  and  physical  incapacity  (to  a  substantial  extent)  to   operate  an  automobile  as  a  reasonably  prudent  driver)  or  a  blood  or  breath  test  of  .08  or  more.     2.  Since  DWAI  is  a  traffic  offense  you  get  a  bench  (judge)  trial,  no  jury,  and  many  judges  feel  that   this  outcome  is  more  than  fair  and  just  compared  to  the  DWI  charges.    


  What  are  all  the  potential  fees,  surcharges,  and   penalties  of  my  DWI?  

   The  chart  below  highlights  the  costs  and  potential  penalties  of  a  NY  DWI.  There  will  likely  be   additional  costs  such  as  a  drug/alcohol  evaluation,  any  associated  treatment,  DMV  surcharges,   ignition  interlock  device,  drinking  driver  program,  victim  impact  panel,  etc.         Offense   DWI  and  Related  Offenses*     Maximum  Jail  Term     15  days   30  days   Mandatory  Penalties   to  License     90  day  suspension   Revoked  at  least  6   months   Revoked  at  least  6   months      Revoked  at  least  6   months   Revoked  at  least  1   year  (18  months  if   prior  conviction  is  for   ADWI)(7)   Revoked  at  least  1   year  (18  months  if  at   least  one  prior   conviction  is  for   ADWI)(7)  

Mandatory  Fines       Minimum  Fines       and  Maximum  Fines   Driving  While  Ability     Impaired  (NY  VTL   §1192[1])(1)   First  Conviction   $300  -­‐  $500(2)(3)(6)   Second  Conviction   $500  -­‐  $750   within  5  years  of  either   a  conviction  for  ADWI,   DWI  or  DWAI   Third  Conviction   $750  -­‐  $1,500   within  10  years   Driving  While     Intoxicated  (NY  VTL   §1192[2]  and  [3])(1)   First  Conviction   $500  -­‐  $1,000(4)(6)   Second  Conviction   within  10  years  (prior   ADWI  or  DWI)   Third  Conviction   within  10  years  (prior   ADWIs  and/or  DWIs)   $1,000  -­‐  $5,000(5)(6)  

90  days     1  year     Misdemeanor   4  years     "E"  Felony   7  years     "D"  Felony  



Copyright © 2011 Lawrence A. Newman  

Aggravated  Driving   While  Intoxicated   (VTL  §1192[2-­a])(1)   First  Conviction  


  1  year  Misdemeanor  

  Revoked  at  least  1   year   Revoked  at  least  18   months  (7)  

Second  Conviction   $1,000  -­‐  $5,000(5)(6)   4  years  "E"  Felony   within  10  years  (prior   ADWI  or  DWI)   Third  Conviction   $2,000-­‐$10,000(5)(6)   7  years  "D"  Felony   Revoked  at  least  18   within  10  years  (prior   months  (7)   ADWIs  and/or  DWIs)       *  This  chart  only  sets  forth  court  imposed  sanctions;  separate  and  additional  sanctions  may   also  be  imposed  by  the  Department  of  Motor  Vehicles.       (1)All  convictions  under  Vehicle  &  Traffic  Law  section  1192  require  the  payment  of  a  Driver   Responsibility  Assessment  to  the  Department  of  Motor  Vehicles  in  the  amount  $250  per  year   for  3  years  in  addition  to  the  mandatory  fines  set  forth  in  this  chart.       (2)  First  alcohol  or  drug-­‐related  violation  by  a  driver  under  the  age  of  21:  1  year  revocation.   Second  alcohol  or  drug-­‐related  violation  by  a  driver  under  the  age  of  21:  revocation  until  age  21   or  1  year,  whichever  is  longer.       (3)  $75.00:  State  mandatory  surcharge  which  is  in  addition  to  mandatory  fines.       (4)  $185.00:  State  mandatory  surcharge  which  is  in  addition  to  mandatory  fines.       (5)  $295.00:  State  mandatory  surcharge  which  is  in  addition  to  mandatory  fines.       (6)  Chemical  Test  Refusal  Revocation:  $500  civil  penalty;  Chemical  Test  Refusal  with  prior   refusal  or  alcohol-­‐related  violation  within  five  years:  $750  civil  penalty,  see  VTL  §1194.       (7)Additional  licensing  penalties  may  arise  if  the  prior  offenses  occurred  within  4  years  of  the   current  offense.                                 MOST  FAQ  ABOUT  A  NEW  YORK  DWI       7    

DWI  Defense  Attorney  Larry  Newman     Located  in  Ithaca,  NY  at  504  North  Aurora  Street.       My  practice  focuses  exclusively  on  DWI  cases  in  the  following  counties  Tompkins,  Seneca,   Schuyler,  Tioga,  Yates,  Cortland,  Steuben,  and  Broome.  Over  95%  of  my  cases  are  New  York  DWI   cases.  New  York  DWI  laws  are  complicated,  and  techniques  in  defending  DWI  are  constantly   changing.  That  is  why  it  is  important  to  find  a  lawyer  who  stays  on  top  of  the  current  DWI  laws,   trends,  and  what  occurs  in  the  Finger  Lakes  Town  Courts,  Village  Courts,  City  Courts,  and  County   Courts  everyday.  I  am  that  lawyer.       Under  the  Department  of  Transportation  I  am  certified  as  a  breath  test  technician,  under  the   guidelines  of  the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police  (IACP)  and  the  National  Highway   Traffic  Safety  Administration  (NHTSA)  I  am  Certified  in  the  FSTS  (Field  Sobriety  Tests),  and  I  am  a   member  of  the  NCDD  (National  College  of  DUI  Defense),  New  York  Criminal  Defense  Lawyers,  the   National  Association  of  Criminal  Defense  Lawyers,  and  have  attended  Gerry  Spence's  Trial  Lawyer   College  programs.       My  website:       My  Blog:       My  video  channel  :  DWI  Defense,  and  other  New  York  Criminal  Defense:       My  articles:       More  articles:­‐defense-­‐lawyer-­‐larry-­‐ newman/256323       Call  607-­229-­5184  for  a  Free  Consultation.       My  Disclaimer:       My  website,  blog,  videos,  and  articles  are  filled  with  lots  of  useful  information  about  New  York   Driving  While  Intoxicated  defenses,  DWI  case  law,  DWI  statutes,  criminal  procedures,  rules  of   evidence,  Court  process,  DMV  rules  and  procedures,  suppression  hearings,  pre-­‐trial  motions,  and   cases  results.       Obviously,  the  fact  that  someone  achieved  a  particular  result  in  the  past  in  THEIR  case  does  not   mean  that  YOU  will  achieve  that  same  result  in  your  case.  Each  and  Every  case  is  different.  Past   results  do  not  guarantee  future  results.  Indeed  the  "very  same"  DWI  case  in  one  town  may  result   in  a  very  different  outcome  in  another  town.  I  don't  win  all  my  cases.  No  one  wins  all  of  their  cases.       I  encourage  all  my  web  visitors  to  consult  with  other  experienced  and  knowledgeable  attorneys  in   their  area  to  talk  about  their  case.  I  also  encourage  everyone  to  visit  my  website  and  to  download   my  free  book,  "The  New  York  DWI  Survival  Guide.”    
Copyright © 2011 Lawrence A. Newman