In the City of New York there are cabs, livery cars, Uber services, buses and subways. All of these modes of transportation make it a difficult sell to prosecutors that a drunk driving, DWI or DUI arrest was due to an inability of an accused to get home. Not that such a defense would be a viable or strong one, but these facts explain why prosecutors are often unsympathetic to the plight of an individual accused of VTL 1192.2 or VTL 1192.3. Couple this with the fact that drunk driving crimes in New York (or anywhere) can have significant collateral and direct consequences to other drivers and pedestrians, don’t be shocked if the District Attorney does not want to budge on a good offer. Remember, if you are convicted not only can you face a year in jail, the suspension or revocation of your license, a $1,000 fine and the requirement that you install an ignition interlock, but a DWI will remain on your record forever. While I may be a New York DWI attorney and criminal lawyer, I would tell you the same thing I would tell a family member. While I certainly zealously advocate for my clients in every case, if you are concerned you might be intoxicated call a cab or give your friend the keys.
With my little parental lecture behind us, let’s circle back to what I mentioned about vigorously advocating for clients arrested in New York City, Westchester, Rockland and Puntam Counties for DWI, DUI or DWAI. You, as an accused, have rights. No prosecutor or police officer can strip you of these. In a recent case out of Queens County, police arrested a Saland Law PC client after they accused our client of running through a stop sign. Upon stopping our client, the police officer claimed our client smelled from alcohol, had watery eyes and possessed other signs of intoxication. Ultimately, the NYPD officer arrested our client and brought our client back to the precinct where our client refused to take the sobriety tests and blow into the intoxilyzer so that the NYPD could get a reading of this BAC. Due to this failure, our client was charged with VTL 1192.3 and our client’s license was revoked pending a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Upon meeting with our client, our client advised our DWI lawyers that the officer had lied. Now, making such an assertion does not mean it is in fact true, but an investigation revealed that our client was in fact honest, truthful and accurate in portraying the events leading up to and after the arrest. Not only did our client deny being intoxicated, but our client stated that the officer had our client blow into a PBT or portable breath test device. Our client adamantly insisted that the device did not record anything as our client had one drink hours before. However, the police paperwork did not reflect a blow of any kind. At the precinct, our client advised that the officer said our client should decline the intoxylizer. Following the officer’s instruction, our client refused (thereby causing our client’s license to be revoked pending a hearing). While these two assertions could be questioned as to their veracity, what put the matter “over the top” for our client is our client’s insistence that our client did not run through a stop sign. Upon obtaining video from a corner store at the location of the alleged failure to stop, our client’s credibility shot through the roof. Not only did our client in fact completely stop at the stop sign, but the police officer had the lights and sirens on well before our client even reached the stop sign. Simply, the officer’s sworn statement in the misdemeanor complaint was a lie. After sharing the video with prosecutors and advising them as to our theory that the officer did not make a record of the PBT because our client blew zero and that the officer knew our client would pass the intoxilyzer test so he advised our client not to take it, they too saw the clear misrepresentation and dismissed the case.
Please recognize that this case result is not a reflection of the NYPD or every DWI arrest for that matter. Like in any profession, there are good and bad apples. Unfortunately, in the realm of criminal law, a falsification on the part of the NYPD could go unnoticed or unsubstantiated without corroboration. Fortunately, the street view video, diligence on the part of our attorneys, and a prosecutor receptive to the fact that his officer made a false statement, saved the day.
To educate yourself on New York’s DWI laws and crimes, review the links found in this entry and below.
The New York DWI lawyers and former DWI prosecutors at Saland Law PC represent clients throughout the New York City area.