Governor Andrew Cuomo recently
announced that, throughout the holiday season, New York State police have
been committed to a “crackdown on impaired driving”. New York State has been
participating in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign,
designed to increase safety by installing sobriety checkpoints, increasing the number
of Troopers on the road, and being more vigilant about potential DWI offenses. During
this campaign, and throughout the rest of the year, police look for things such
as moving violations as evidence that someone may be driving under the
influence. Read on to find out how police may determine that someone is driving
while intoxicated, what the penalties could be, and how a DWI attorney can
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
When on DWI patrol, police officers often look for moving
violations to help them determine if someone may be driving under the
influence. “We’re looking for aggressive driving, speeding, [and] failing to
obey traffic control devices”, among other things, Detective Jeff Passino told Syracuse.com.
“It’s the minor mistakes everybody else makes driving, and then you realize
it’s because they possibly may have been drinking alcohol,” he continued.
If you are pulled over for DWI, you may be asked to perform
one or multiple Standardized
Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) in an attempt to discover if you are
intoxicated. The three tests that are formally allowed by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration are the walk-and-turn, which requires you to walk
heel to toe in a straight line and then turn and walk back in the same fashion,
the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which requires you to follow the police
officer’s finger or another object from side to side with your eyes, and the
one-leg stand. You are not required to take these tests and can refuse them,
but you may still be arrested. If you are arrested, the officer may administer
a New York State Breath Test. Under the Implied Consent Law, you agree to take
this test when you sign for your driver’s license. You can refuse to take the
test, but that could result in a fine and loss of your driver’s license for up
to one year.
Penalties for DWI
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, the
number of times this has happened to you can indicate how severe the penalty
will be. If this is your first DWI-related offense, it is likely that it will
be a misdemeanor. If this is your second offense in 10 years, it could be
classified as a class E felony, which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
If you receive 3 or more DWIs in a 15-year period, it can be considered a class
D felony, which carries a sentence of up to 7 years in prison. This was changed
in 2014 by Vince’s Law, which was designed to increase criminal penalties for
DWI in order to keep habitual drunk drivers off the road. Before Vince’s Law,
authorities could only look back 10 years when charging repeat offenders. This
means that DWIs before that time period were not considered, so new DWIs could
be charged as misdemeanors. Vince’s Law also instituted a potential fine of up
to $10,000 for those charged with the class D felony.
Who to call
If you have been charged with DWI and are unsure of what
your next steps should be, call Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. Lipsitz Green’s DWI
attorneys will provide you with the aggressive defense you need. They have an
in-depth knowledge of clients’ rights and the possible weaknesses in any
charges against you. For a comprehensive and effective DWI defense, contact the
DWI attorneys at Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria today.
This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.