Defending Common Law DWI Charges in New York State: Strategies and Considerations
A Common Law DWI charge in New York State (NYS) is a charge of driving while intoxicated, even if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is not at or above the legal limit of 0.08%. This type of DWI charge is often brought against drivers who refuse to take a breathalyzer test.
To prove a Common Law DWI charge, the prosecution must show that the driver was operating a motor vehicle while their ability to operate the vehicle was impaired by alcohol or drugs. This can be done by using a variety of evidence, including:
- The driver’s physical condition, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and an unsteady gait
- The driver’s driving behavior, such as erratic driving, weaving in and out of lanes, and failing to obey traffic signals
- The driver’s responses to field sobriety tests
- The odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath
- The presence of alcohol or drugs in the driver’s vehicle
If the prosecution is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was operating a motor vehicle while their ability to operate the vehicle was impaired by alcohol or drugs, the driver can be convicted of a Common Law DWI.
Penalties for a Common Law DWI Charge in New York State
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to three years of probation
- A fine of $500-$1,000
- A mandatory driver’s license revocation for at least six months
- Required installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device for one year
- Participation in a drunk driver program
- Attendance at a victim impact panel
The specific penalties that a defendant faces will depend on the facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history. For example, a defendant with a prior DWI conviction may face more severe penalties than a defendant with no prior DWI convictions.
It is important to note that a conviction for common law DWI in NYS will result in a permanent criminal record. This can have serious consequences for the defendant’s employment, housing, and other aspects of their life.
If you are facing a common law DWI charge in NYS, it is important to speak with an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, and can build a strong defense on your behalf.
Building a Robust Defense Strategy
Evaluating the Traffic Stop: The foundation of any Common Law DWI defense begins with a thorough examination of the traffic stop. Was there probable cause to initiate the stop? Were the proper procedures followed by law enforcement? Any violations of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights can significantly impact the case’s validity.
Challenging Sobriety Tests: Common Law DWI cases often involve field sobriety tests, which can be subjective and prone to human error. Our experienced attorneys meticulously scrutinize the administration of these tests to identify any inconsistencies or improper procedures that could undermine their reliability.
Questioning Chemical Tests: Chemical tests, such as breathalyzers, urine or blood tests, are crucial pieces of evidence in Common Law DWI cases. However, these tests are not infallible. Our legal team will investigate whether the testing equipment was properly calibrated, maintained, and operated by certified personnel. If there are discrepancies, the validity of the test results can be called into question.
Medical Conditions and Prescription Medications: Some medical conditions and prescription medications can lead to impaired driving without the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Our defense strategy explores the possibility of a medical condition or medication affecting the defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
Constructing Alternative Explanations: We work closely with our clients to gather detailed accounts of the events leading up to their Common Law DWI charge. By understanding the context and circumstances, we can build alternative explanations for their behavior that may not necessarily point to impairment.
Our legal team is well-versed in the nuanced laws of New York State, including its Common Law DWI statutes and sentencing guidelines. Depending on the specifics of the case, we can pursue various legal avenues:
Negotiating Reductions: Through skillful negotiation, we aim to secure reductions in charges or penalties, such as obtaining a plea deal to a lesser offense or pursuing enrollment in a substance abuse education program.
Challenging Evidence in Court: If necessary, we are prepared to take the case to trial. Our experienced litigators will present a strong defense, cross-examine witnesses, and challenge evidence in court to achieve the best possible outcome.
Protecting Driving Privileges: Common Law DWI convictions can result in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges. We will advocate for our clients to retain their driving rights whenever possible.
Facing a Common Law DWI charge in New York State can be a daunting experience, but the DWI Team is dedicated to providing unwavering support and exceptional legal representation. Our extensive knowledge of the legal landscape, combined with our commitment to protecting clients’ rights, empowers us to construct robust defense strategies tailored to each unique case. From dissecting the traffic stop to challenging sobriety tests and negotiating favorable outcomes, we stand as the shield against Common Law DWI charges, advocating for the best interests of our clients at every turn.