New York DWI – VTL 1192: The Grievance Committee and Potential Suspension of License to Practice Law in New York State

Most of the direct consequences for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated or DUI) crimes in New York are fairly standard. While there is deviation between sentence to sentence and case to case, the maximums remain the same for any misdemeanor offense involving New York Vehicle and Traffic Law sections 1192.2 or 1192.3. In addition to being burdened with a criminal conviction for a misdemeanor, the law allows up to a one year jail sentence, probation, community services and fines. Beyond the possibility of incarceration, sentences also include completion of the Drinking Driver Program (sometimes called the Drunk Driving Program). Additional punishment will include a license suspension and the placement of a ignition interlock device on your car that requires you to “blow” before, and sometimes during, the operation of your vehicle. Simply, the potential punishment for a conviction for New York for VTL 1192.2 or New York VTL 1192.3 are quite serious for anyone accused of or arrested for a DWI offense. This fact alone is why it is essential to ascertain and implement a defense that can lead to mitigation of your conduct to a non criminal offense or even dismissal. When you are a professional, such as an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New York, however, the consequences can be even more grave and the need to challenge the allegations that much more important.

Before addressing the implications of a conviction for VTL 1192.2 and VTL 1192.3 if you are an attorney or lawyer licensed in New York, let’s briefly discuss and address these crimes. Although the same level offense, the difference between the two crimes generally is that VTL 1192.2 involves the “blow” on an intoxilyzer of .08 or greater while VTL 1192.3 requires no “blow” or even a refusal to do so. As stated in VTL 1192.2: “No person shall operate a motor vehicle while such person has .08 of one per centum or more by weight of alcohol in the person’s blood as shown by chemical analysis of such person’s blood, breath, urine or saliva…” Slightly different, the elements of VTL 1192.3 merely state: “No person shall operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition.” The latter offense often relies on observations by a police officer as to your eyes, aroma or scent of alcohol, balance, speech, etc.

With the basics behind us, the following case exemplifies why it is critical to pursue all avenues in your defense to best enable your New York criminal lawyer or New York DWI defense attorney to challenge your arrest. Whether this means a trial, a procedural defense or mitigating your conduct down to a VTL 1192.1 (this is Driving While Ability Impaired, a traffic infraction and not a crime), depends on your particular case.

In Matter of Bolduc, 2014 NY Slip Op 05428 (2nd Dept. 2014), the defendant, an attorney, was charged with two counts of professional misconduct that stemmed from multiple arrests including more than one DWI. In fact, as noted by the Grievance Committee, not only was their a history of convictions for VTL 1192.2 and VTL 1192.3, but Bolduc was convicted of violating New York Penal Law 155.25, Petit Larceny, New York Penal Law 165.15, Theft of Services and New York Penal Law 215.50, Second Degree Contempt. While it may be easy to dismiss Bolduc’s ultimate three year suspension from the practice of law to the fact that there were many arrests and convictions, the Appellate Division, in affirming the suspension provided would be drunk drivers with the following insight:

“By virtue of any one or more of the foregoing convictions, the respondent engaged in illegal conduct that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of former Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1-102(a)(3) and (5) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a][3], [5]) and Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0) rule 8.4(b) and (d).”

Yes, there is no doubt that the nature and number of convictions impacted and colored the Grievance Committee’s decision, but the risk of even one conviction for DWI is open and evident for all attorneys to see.

To research and gain further insight on New York’s DWI crimes from violations to felonies, read Crotty Saland PC’s New York DWI information page as well as this blog for further content.

The greater New York and New York City DWI lawyers at Crotty Saland PC served in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office prosecuting DUI crimes prior to defending clients accused of VTL 1192 offenses in New York City and suburban courts.

 

 

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