Saland Law PC, a New York City criminal defense firm founded by two former DWI prosecutors and DWI defense attorneys, is pleased to announced a resolution to a case a long time in the making. Although the initial offer required a plea to the misdemeanor crime of VTL 1192.3 (also called “common law DWI”) with an opportunity to later re-plea to Driving While Ability Impaired (“DWAI”) pursuant to New York VTL 1192.1, our client rejected this deal and proceeded to trial. In the midst of the cross examination by Saland Law PC of the New York City Police Department officer who effectuated the arrest, the prosecution offered our client a plea to Disorderly Conduct (New York Penal Law 240.20). Instead of facing a potential conviction that would require our client taking the DDP, being fined hundreds of dollars and having our client’s license suspended, our client’s case was immediately sealed without any conditions.
After the prosecution conducted their direct examination of the officer who arrested our client for DWI (sometimes called “DUI”), Saland Law PC cross examined the witness on numerous inconsistencies between the police paperwork and his testimony. For example, the officer testified at a earlier hearing that the accused drunk driver was traveling westbound on the Belt Parkway, but later contradicted himself. Even more significant, the officer testified inconsistently between the initial hearing and paperwork regarding “watery blood shot eyes.” At trial, the officer testified our client’s eyes were clear. Further, while the prosecution stated in substance that our client drank numerous glasses of wine during the opening statement, the officer testified that our client only admitted to drinking one glass. The list of inconsistencies extended well beyond what is addressed above, but not all of these errors were exposed before the prosecution made an offer mid-trial.
During cross examination by Saland Law, the officer admitted that he did not follow police procedure in transporting our client after the DWI arrest. The reason for this failure related to the positioning of a camera inside the police vehicle. Despite a discovery demand, this video was never disclosed to the defense and was the first that anyone ever heard of it. At that point in time, Saland Law PC requested that the judge declare a mistrial. After some arguing back and forth and discussing potential remedies, the judge stated that he would not declare a mistrial, but would accept an adverse inference (that the video would hurt the prosecution’s case and be beneficial to the defendant). Upon hearing that, and seeing the path the case was going, the prosecution offered our client a Disorderly Conduct. Although we believed that there would be an acquittal (no attorney can obviously guarantee a result), our client wanted the immediate closure, no criminal record, no fines, no suspension and no DWI programs. To our client’s satisfaction, that is exactly what our client received.
As noted above, each case is different and there never are guarantees. This particular client faced an initial VTL 1192.3 DWI where the evidence did not support a finding of intoxication. Sadly, a simple accusation – even when not true – can be devastating. Diligence, detailed analysis of evidence and implementing the proper defense can mean the difference between exoneration and conviction.
To learn about New York DWI laws and crimes, follow the links above or go directly to the New York DWI page of New-York-Lawyers.org. Between the website and this blog (linked below), you will find not only descriptions of New York drunk driving statutes, but a review of legal decisions.
A New York City criminal practice representing clients in DWI and DUI throughout New York City and many of her northern suburbs, the New York DWI attorneys at Saland Law PC trained as DWI prosecutors prior to establishing the law firm.