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 help.
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.