Answers To Your DWI Questions
Every state has different driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws and penalties. If you have been charged with DWI in Erie County or the surrounding area, attorney James Quinn Auricchio, Esq., can help. With his primary office in Buffalo, attorney Auricchio serves clients throughout Erie County, New York.
It is not what you did, but what you do NOW that matters most.
Get the answers you need below and contact the firm to get your defense started today.
What happens after I’ve been pulled over for a DWI?
Each arrest is different. However, some generalities exist in most cases. The police will probably question you, they might make you take a breathalyzer or do some roadside tests to determine whether you are intoxicated.
If the police officers on the scene determine that you are intoxicated, they will arrest you, take you into custody and charge you with DWI.
When you are pulled over, it is important to be cooperative and it is equally important to not say anything that could incriminate you. You are within your legal rights to tell them that you don’t want to say anything until you have talked with an attorney.
Should I plead guilty to a DWI?
It depends. Without seeing your case and the evidence against you, it is impossible to advise you accurately. If the prosecutor has great evidence and there is nothing in the arrest report to indicate any errors by the arresting officer, it might be wise to plead guilty in a plea bargain to minimize the sentencing.
On the other hand, if there is any type of error or any way to establish reasonable doubt as to whether you were driving while intoxicated, you should not plead guilty. If there’s a strong chance the charges won’t stick, you should fight it out in the courtroom and go for dropped charges or a not-guilty verdict.
Will I lose my license after a DWI?
If you are convicted of DWI, yes. Even a first conviction can result in a six-month revocation.
It is important to note that, regardless of whether or not you are convicted, your license will be suspended on the arrest. This means that you MUST go through the administrative hearing process (which is a separate and distinct process from the criminal proceedings) to get your license reinstated. Even if you are found not guilty, you have to go through this process to get your license.
Talk with a lawyer right away if you’ve been arrested for DWI in New York. You have a very short time frame within which you must apply for the administrative hearing. If you miss that deadline, you could be without driving privileges for a long time.
How does a DWI affect my insurance rates?
If you are convicted of DWI charges in New York, you can be pretty confident that your insurance rates will be higher. Insurance companies are allowed to raise the rates of their policyholders significantly after DWI convictions. There are some legal limits to how much the insurance companies can raise rates in these instances, but you will face much higher charges just the same.
Can a DWI be reduced in New York?
In the state of New York, it is generally not an option for a DWI conviction to be reduced to reckless driving involving alcohol (also known as “wet reckless”). Usually, the best plea bargain in New York DWI convictions is for a DWAI.
Do I have to do field sobriety tests?
NO. If you are pulled over and an officer suspects you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will almost surely ask you to step from the vehicle to perform a battery of tests called “Field Sobriety Tests.” Three of these tests are called “Standardized” because they are to be given in a uniform or standard manner to ensure their accuracy. If they are administered correctly, they may provide evidence that you are or are not under the influence.
Unfortunately, very few officers administer these tests as intended and their accuracy is questionable as a result. These tests will give the officer the necessary evidence to ultimately request that you submit to a breath test. They will also serve as evidence if you are ultimately charged with DWI.
While you do have the right to refuse these tests, the officers do not have to tell you that. According to New York State case law:
“[t]here is no statutory or other requirements for the establishment of rules regulating field sobriety tests,” the police are not required to inform a defendant that he or she has a right to refuse to perform such tests.”
Keep in mind, if you are arrested and charged with DWI, the Police and Prosecutor may argue that your refusal to perform these tests imply that you would have failed them. However, a Buffalo DWI lawyer will argue there are a variety of reasons why someone would fail these tests, including injury or disability.