Representing Motorists Facing Drug and Alcohol-Related Driving Offenses
While law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in New York take all drug and alcohol-related driving charges seriously, police officers and prosecutors often exhibit exceptional zeal when a driver has a prior conviction for a similar offense. The harsh penalties associated with a second conviction of DWI and DWAI-Drugs demonstrate the focus of the government on convicting drivers alleged to be repeat offenders.
Serious Consequences for a Second Conviction of DWAI-Drugs or DWI When you are arrested and charged with a second violation of DWI or DWAI-Drug in a 10-year period, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can challenge the evidence in the prosecutor’s possession. A second offense involving either of these criminal charges can result in the following penalties:
- Up to 4 years in state prison;
- Minimum driver’s license revocation of 12 months (up to 18 months);
- Fine between $1,000 and $5,000; and
- Conviction of an E Felony.
Although both misdemeanor and felony convictions can impact your future, felonies can have especially damaging consequences. Aside from exposure to incarceration in state prison and loss of your driving privileges, a felony conviction for a second DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years can have the following negative consequences:
- Potential deportation, removal, denial of citizenship, or other adverse immigration effects;
- Loss of constitutional rights that include gun possession/ownership, voting, and jury service;
- Negative impact on credit and loan applications;
- Unfavorable admissions decisions by colleges and universities;
- Suspension, expulsion, or other discipline by colleges and universities;
- Denial of lease applications by landlords;
- Disqualification for some jobs or promotions;
- Higher insurance premiums; and
- Impact on military service.
- DWI Violations under New York Law
There are two separate types of DWI under New York law: (1) DWI based on a blood alcohol concentration (BAC); and (2) DWI based on actual evidence of intoxication. If your BAC level is .08 percent or above, you may be charged and convicted of DWI merely because your BAC level is over the legal limit. For this type of DWI offense, the prosecutor does not need to introduce evidence that your driving skills were impaired, except to demonstrate that the officer had a reasonable basis for the stop and probable cause for the arrest.
The second version of DWI is based on evidence that your driving ability was actually impaired by drugs or alcohol. Many people believe that they cannot be convicted of DWI if their chemical test does not reveal a BAC level over the legal limit of .08 percent. However, you can still be convicted of DWI if there is sufficient other evidence of impaired driving ability to justify a conviction. Some of the types of evidence that may be relevant include:
Poor driving (e.g., swerving into the adjacent lane, driving with your lights off, colliding with another vehicle, straddling multiple lanes, etc.)
- Failing field sobriety tests;
- Refusing to submit to a chemical test as evidence of consciousness of guilt;
- Possessing open bottles of alcohol in your vehicle;
- Admitting that you have been drinking;
- Having slurred speech;
- Showing red and watery eyes;
- Lacking coordination; or
- Having the odor of alcohol on your breath.
While these are two separate forms of DWI, they are subject to the same punishment. You can only be convicted of one of these forms of DWI, although you might be charged with both.
What Must Be Proven in a DWAI-Drugs Case
If you are charged with DWAI-Drugs, the prosecutor must prove that your actual driving ability was impaired by a drug other than alcohol. Generally, these cases are more difficult to prove because the prosecutor cannot obtain a conviction by proving that a lawfully administered chemical test proved you were over an established BAC threshold. This offense is similar to DWI based on actual impaired driving ability.
Providing Zealous Defense in All Alcohol and Drug-Related Driving Cases
At Greco Neyland, PC, our White Plains DWI defense lawyers offer vigorous defense of the rights and freedoms of those facing charges of DWI or DWAI-Drugs with a prior conviction. We offer a free consultation so we can review your case and explain the ways in which we can help. Call us today at (914) 358-9146 or click here to schedule your initial case evaluation.