New York City Drunk Driving / DWI DUI Defense Attorney

Former DWI Prosecutor. We understand that if you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated, you can lose your license and your car before setting foot in a courtroom. A conviction may lead to incarceration, a criminal record, fines, and license revocation. That is why taking immediate action and aggressive representation are the hallmark of our DWI/DUI defense efforts. Lance Fletcher, a former DWI prosecutor will work tirelessly to get you the results that you need. For purposes of this web page, DWI and DUI are used interchangeably because they often refer to the same thing - the illegal operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. dwi dui defense lawyer nyc

One of the more aggressively prosecuted crimes in New York is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). This is especially now that New York City is pushing for zero traffic related fatalities by increasing enforcement. DWI can be charged as a traffic infraction (Driving While Abilities Impaired - DWAI), a misdemeanor, or a felony, as well as under different theories of guilt. DWI / DUI convictions also carry very hefty punishments including incarceration, probation, lengthy alcohol treatment programs, ankle bracelet monitoring, fines, license suspensions, and installing an ignition interlock device in your car.

Common law DWI / DUI (VTL 1192.3). The most commonly charged DWI / DUI is the misdemeanor criminal offense. There are two ways you can be found guilty of DWI / DUI. One way is the “common law” theory which simply states that you cannot operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition. This is the argument that prosecutors make when a person refuses to submit to a breathalyzer and there is no BAC reading. In order for you to be convicted of a DWI / DUI under this theory the prosecutor needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating a motor vehicle in an intoxicated condition. These types of cases usually turn on the evidence regarding intoxication and operation of a motor vehicle. You are considered intoxicated under the law when you have consumed alcohol to the extent that you are incapable to a substantial extent of employing the physical and mental capabilities which you are expected to possess in order to be a reasonable and prudent driver. When there is not a BAC reading, the officer’s observations of your driving, your appearance of drunkenness, and your performance on sobriety tests will go a long way in convincing a jury if you were drunk or sober. You are considered to be operating a motor vehicle (driving) if you are seated in the driver's seat with the present intention of driving.

Statutory DWI / DUI (VTL 1192.2). Another common DWI / DUI charge is to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than .08 of 1 percent. If the prosecutor can show that you had a BAC greater than .08 while you were operating the car, you will be convicted of DWI regardless of your driving abilities being affected. Factors such as the lapse in time between operation and the test, whether the proper procedures were followed in administering the test to you, and the qualifications of the test administrator will all be relevant. Did you take more than one breath test? Sometimes, the police will have you submit to a breath test on the side of the road as well as later at the precinct. Differences between these tests are relevant to the question of whether these brethalyzers were working properly.

If convicted of a DWI under either of these two theories, you will have a permanent criminal record. You will also have your license suspended for 6 months, face up to $1,000 in fines (for each misdemeanor charge), up to 1 year in jail, need to install an ignition interlock device in your car, and have to pay a $750 DMV fee. Also, if you refused a breathalyzer, your license will be revoked for a period of 1 year regardless of the outcome of your criminal case. Following conviction, the DMV may charge you additional fees, your insurance could increase dramatically, and you could suffer permanent immigration, international travel, employment, and other consequences.

Felony DWI. DWIs can also be charged as felonies. One way to be charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor is if you are caught driving while intoxicated with a person less than 16 years old in the car. This law is commonly known as Leandra’s Law. The prosecutor must prove the same elements as the misdemeanor DWI with the one addition of a child also being present in the car. If you are convicted of this type of DWI, you will be convicted of a class E felony. You will face up to 4 years in New York State prison. Prosecutors treat Leandra’s Law DWIs extremely seriously and it is not uncommon for a person with no criminal history to realistically face upstate prison time if convicted. Another way to be charged with a felony DWI is if you are charged with your second DWI in the past 10 years. This will also result in a class E felony and you can be sentenced up to 4 years in New York State prison.

Our DWI Services Include:

  • Felony DWI (1192.2, 1192.3)
  • Misdemeanor DWI (1192.2, 1192.3)
  • Aggravated DWI (1192.2-a)
  • Driving while Ability Impaired DWAI (1192.1)
  • Refusal Case (1192.3)
  • Marijuana related DUI / DWI (1192.4)
  • Narcotics related DUI / DWI (1192.4)
  • Medication related DUI / DWI
  • Portable Breathalyzer DUI / DWI
  • DMV Hearings
  • Vehicle release proceedings
  • License suspension hearings
  • Conditional License Assistance

The first law against drinking and driving was passed here in the State of New York in 1910. Afterwards, other states passed similar laws. The early laws did not indicate a maximum blood alcohol level or specify any procedure for testing coordination. They generally prohibited drunk driving, and police officers and judges were left to enforce the law as they saw fit. Starting in 1938, a maximum BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) was set at 0.15%. In 1966 it was lowered to 0.10% and to 0.08% in 2003. Each new limit was accompanied with new scientific research suggesting that people just under the limit would be able to drive reasonably well. Interestingly, emerging research suggests that driving with a BAC of 0.08 is about as likely to result in an accident as driving while talking on a cell phone, yet the former is subject to much greater penalties.

DWI for being under 0.08%. You can be arrested for driving under the limit of 0.08%? You can be arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated even if you are under the limit if the arresting officer thinks that, based on the circumstances, you are intoxicated. These circumstances may include allegations of bad driving, an odor of alcohol, red and/or watery eyes, or slurred speech. If you are under the 0.08 limit, you could also be charged with Driving Under the Influence which is sometimes called "driving while buzzed.". You can also be charged with either DWI or DUI even if you are under the influence a non-alcoholic substance.

Today, DWI & DUI enforcement has never been stricter. There are enhanced penalties for driving with a very high BAC (aggravated DWI - 0.18 or higher) and you can be charged with a felony if you have a prior DWI conviction (even from out-of-state). You can also be charged with a felony if you are driving while intoxicated for the first time and minor children are present during the alleged offense (Leandra's Law). Whether you are pulled over during a "routine" traffic stop, stopped at a checkpoint, or otherwise accused of driving while intoxicated, you may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test on the side of the road and/or at a police precinct. Additionally, you may be asked to perform a coordination test in front of a video camera. If you refuse to take these tests, you may face an automatic license suspension and the fact of your refusal may be offered as evidence against you. The subsequent prosecution may result in a combination of incarceration, a criminal conviction, license revocation, and the permanent loss of your car.

As a former DWI Prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Lance Fletcher has handled numerous DWI and DUI cases. When you meet with him, he will sit down to talk about your DWI / DUI case and provide an assessment of your situation. He will discuss whether the police had a right to stop you, the existence of any breathalyzer tests or video, your chances of success, and what it would take to succeed. Sometimes, it may be possible to negotiate a suitable outcome and realize your objectives early in the litigation. Other situations may demand further effort, up to and including trial. As a former prosecutor, he is prepared to work hard to get you the results that you need. Contact us for a free consultation by calling (212) 619-3900.

DWI PENALTIES IN NEW YORK

Charge Max Jail Term Driver License Action
Driving While Impaired (1192.1) 15 Days 90 Day Suspension
Driving While Intoxicated (1192.2 or 1192.3) 1 Year 1 Year Revocation
Driving While Impaired by a Drug (1192.4) 1 Year 6 Month Revocation
Aggravated DWI (1192.2a) 1 Year 1 Year Revocation
Second DWI in 10 Yrs (1192.3) 4 Years 18 Month Revocation
Third DWI in 10 Years 7 Years Permanent Revocation
Second Driving While Impaired in 5 Years (1192.1) 30 days 6 Month Revocation

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