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NYC DUI/DWI Attorney

What is the Difference Between DUI & DWI?

Facing charges for committing a DUI crime in the state of New York is often not only extremely frightening but overwhelming and confusing. Just one part of this has to do with the complex variance of different terms for the same event. For example, laws in New York usually label these crimes as “Driving While Intoxicated” (DWI), but in different states DWIs are also referred to as OUI (Operating Under the Influence), DUI (Driving Under the Influence), or OWI (Operating While Intoxicated).

The methods used to test blood alcohol content are even more confusing than the terms, and often subject to human or machine error. Whatever the situation, you will need a knowledgeable NYC DUI/DWI lawyer to aid your case, and Kenneth E. Belkin, Esq. is ready to offer his support in aggressively fighting for you.

Contact him now at (718) 395-6755 to receive representation from a dedicated DWI attorney in New York City.

New York Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits

There are a number of ways that police officials attempt to test your blood alcohol content. The law, as outlined in Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192(2), requires that adults have less than .08% BAC if they are going to operate a vehicle. For a young person under 21, the legal limit is much lower at .02%. The problem is that not all these methods are always completely accurate, and there is much capacity for both human and machine error.

Methods of Testing Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Some of the most types of evidence that officials will try to use, in addition to blood tests and breathalyzer tests include:

  • How you performed for a coordination test
  • How you performed during a standardized field sobriety test
  • Indications of having bloodshot or watery eyes
  • An inability to speak correctly without slurring
  • General unsteadiness and inability to walk straight
  • Having a smell of an alcoholic beverage

What are the Penalties for DWI in New York?

Usually, a first offence of a DUI or DWI will result in a misdemeanor rather than a felony. This is still no light matter, however, because the consequences can affect your life in several drastic ways.

First Time DWI in NYC

Some of the penalties for a first time DUI or DWI offense include:

  • Being forced to spend up to 1 year in a jail
  • Having to pay fines ranging up to $1,000, in addition to court and lawyer fees
  • Getting your driver’s license revoked for several months
  • Having to face about around three years of probation
  • Needing to pay court surcharges and fees of around $400
  • Being asked to complete an assessment of driver responsibility every year, which costs $250
  • Having to install an interlock device into the ignition of every car you operate or own

Second DWI in NYC

Some of the penalties for a second DUI or DWI offense include:

  • Being forced to spend up to 4 years in a jail
  • Having to pay fines ranging up to $5,000, in addition to court and lawyer fees
  • Getting your driver’s license revoked for at least 1 year
  • Having to install an interlock device into the ignition of every car you operate or own

Third DWI Offense in NYC

Some of the penalties for a third DUI or DWI offense include:

  • Being forced to spend up to 7 years in a jail
  • Having to pay fines ranging up to $10,000, in addition to court and lawyer fees
  • Getting your driver’s license revoked for at least 1 year
  • Having to install an interlock device into the ignition of every car you operate or own

New York Field Sobriety Tests

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is made of up 3 individual tests:

  • In the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the officer will observe the eyes of the person in question as they slowly move a pen or small object back and forth to look for indicators in each eye that the person is impaired.
  • In the Walk-and-turn test, the officer instructs the person to take about nine steps in a straight line and the come back. The officer is looking for signs that the person is intoxicated such as not being able to keep their balance or not following the instructions properly.
  • One-leg stand test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to stand with one foot off the ground and hold it for about 30 seconds. The officer looks for signs of intoxication such as swaying or using their arms to balance.

Protection Against Unjust DWI Charges in NYC

It is crucial to cut down on crime in NYC, and that certainly includes cases of reckless drinking and driving. However, what many police officers do not seem to remember in the heat of the moment is that sobriety test methods are not always fair or appropriate. Your natural physical conditions might render you incapable of passing the tests for sobriety, whether you have an illness or disability. Do not fear fighting unfair tests by the prosecution when you have Kenneth E. Belkin, Esq. at your side.

Frequently Asked Questions About DWI

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about DWI in New York City.

Isn’t a DWI just a really serious traffic ticket?

No. DWI is a crime, which means you can be arrested and incur a criminal record for DWI. You might not face jail time for your first offense, but your DWI conviction will follow you on your criminal history.

Do I have to submit to a field sobriety test?

No. You have no legal obligation to submit to a field sobriety test (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk-and-Turn, One Leg Standing, etc.) and can decline to do so. You can’t, however, refuse a chemical test of your breath or blood. This is due to the implied consent to these tests upon accepting a New York driver’s license. Refusing these tests can incur a license revocation whether or not you’re found guilty of DWI.

Can I still get a DWI if my BAC is less than 0.08%?

You’re unlikely to be charged with DWI if your BAC is less than 0.08%, but you can be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) if your BAC is greater than 0.05%. This is a less serious charge than DWI, but it can come with fines, jail time, and/or a license suspension.

Is it safe to sleep in my car until I’m sober?

No. New York laws are written such that you don’t necessarily have to be driving to get a DWI – even if you’re asleep, in the back, and the keys aren’t in the ignition. Legally, you can’t operate a vehicle if you’re drunk. This term, operate, can be broadly interpreted to prove someone who was in drunk was in operation of their vehicle, even if they weren’t driving.

Can I expunge a DWI conviction?

No. New York doesn’t offer expungement (erasure of criminal records) for DWI misdemeanor or felony convictions. You can only expunge your DWI case if it was dismissed or you were acquitted of your charges.

Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Violence Charges

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about domestic violence charges in New York City.

Is it safe to talk about my domestic violence charges?

Only with your lawyer. Don’t discuss the incident that led to your domestic violence arrest with anyone except your lawyer. Doing so can unintentionally incriminate you for an offense you didn’t commit.

I didn’t hit or hurt anyone, why was I arrested?

Domestic violence can include non-physical behaviors, such as menacing or stalking. Even if you haven’t physically harmed an alleged victim, you can still be arrested and convicted of domestic violence.

Can I get arrested for domestic violence if I spank my child?

Some parents still use corporal punishment to discipline their children and may not be charged with domestic violence. If the punishment appears excessive or causes severe physical injury to a child, however, the police can arrest the parent or guardian responsible on suspicion of domestic violence and/or child abuse charges.

I was arrested for domestic violence. Will I lose my kids?

It’s possible, but there’s a process. Your domestic violence charges will be handled through the criminal court system, whereas any issues concerning your custody or parental rights will be handled by the family court system and/or juvenile dependency court system. Not all people who are arrested and convicted of domestic violence lose their children, but it’s a factor that’s strongly taken into account.

Call (718) 395-6755 or contact the firm online to receive the aggressive defense of a powerful New York City DUI/DWI attorney.

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