Were You Arrested For DWI/DUI?
It is an unsettling feeling for all involved when a friend or family member has been arrested and charged with driving while impaired or intoxicated as a result of alcohol or drugs. The laws surrounding these types of cases have changed significantly over the last several years. I am sure that you will have numerous questions that need to be answered about what to do or how best to help someone you care for. The New York City law firm of The Law Firm of Michael S. Berardino, formerly Mangialardi & Berardino has learned over the years that there are certain particular questions asked by my clients when it comes to cases involving alcohol-related offenses. My firm is here to answer those questions.
Contact us to learn more about DUI/DWI laws and how those laws affect you.
Understand New York DUI/DWI Laws
I have summarized some of the many changes to the law surrounding DWI prosecutions that took effect in recent years in New York. However, each court can and does interpret these newer sections of the law differently at times. Therefore the advice given by our drunk driving defense attorneys is subject to the justice system as they continue to interpret the changes in the new laws.
I have put together several sections of the law which, in our experience are the most common areas that clients ask us about:
DUI/DWI and License Suspension
One of the first concerns of clients, whether they are arrested in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Rockland, Tuckahoe, or any upstate county deals with Suspensions Pending Prosecutions pursuant to Section 1193(2)(e)(7) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. If you have agreed to take the breathalyzer test (not the roadside hand held test called an Alco-Sensor) and you register a .08 or more, then your license will be suspended at your first court appearance, commonly referred to as your arraignment. This suspension pertains to both New York licensed drivers and any licensed out-of-state driver. The only difference is that an out-of-state licensee, say from New Jersey, will only have his ability to drive in New York suspended at his arraignment while retaining the ability to drive in all other 49 states.
Please note that you can be eligible for a conditional license if you had a valid drivers license prior to the suspension pending prosecution as long as you did not have a prior conviction for Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired, or complete the Drinking Driver Program within the preceding five years.
The laws of New York do provide for what is called a Hardship License when the court, at your arraignment, suspends your ability to drive because of the results from your breathalyzer test. This type of license is limited in nature and is not automatically given by the courts. A complete review of your case with us is important in order to present information to the court at arraignment to secure this privilege during the pendency of your case. This type of privilege does not apply to those cases where an individual refuses to submit to a chemical analysis of their breath, blood, or urine.
Refusing to Submit to a Breath Test
As mentioned above, the police may initially request that you blow in to a handheld device when you are first stopped. This device is called an Alco Sensor or screening device. Refusal to take this field sobriety test will not invoke the harsh penalties associated with Section 1194 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. Once you have been arrested, the police will most certainly request that you submit to a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test. Refusal by you, of participating in this request will result in a mandated suspension of your license at your arraignment, which generally takes place during your first appearance in front of a Judge.
The court, in this instance, will have you hand over your New York State drivers license and will thereby suspend your ability to drive. In addition, the court (generally the clerk of the court) will schedule a hearing for you with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days. Should you have an out-of-state license the court has no authority to have you surrender your license. However, they will suspend your ability to drive in New York pending your hearing at Motor Vehicles on this refusal issue. This hearing must be scheduled within 15 days of your arraignment or your license will be reinstated by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The refusal hearing discussed above is conducted at the Department of Motor Vehicles in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Failure at this hearing will result in the revocation of your license for at least one year. It is essential that you seek out the assistance of an experienced DUI defense lawyer to represent you at this hearing to make sure that your rights are properly protected.
Financial Penalties for Breath Test Refusal in New York
The financial penalties associated with the revocation of your license are also significant. Civil penalties and assessments from the Department of Motor Vehicles will total at least $1,250 should you be found to have refused to take the chemical test. These amounts are in addition to any fines imposed by the court if you are convicted of DWI or DUI charges.
Consult Experienced DUI/DWI Defense Lawyers
With the complexity of New York’s DWI/DUI laws, it is clear that experienced legal counsel should be sought out for DWI and DUI cases. For skilled guidance in Tarrytown, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, or throughout the New York City suburbs, contact an experienced attorney at The Law Firm of Michael S. Berardino, formerly Mangialardi & Berardino. I efficiently guide clients through a criminal justice system that is foreign to most.
If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, I can answer your questions and assist you in your time of need. With 32 years of experience as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, I offer reasonable flat fees with payment options. Call locally at 212-983-5677 or 914-618-4167, or Toll Free at 877-776-5584.