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Common Mistakes Made by Law Enforcement When Investigating DWI in New York

This article was adapted from partner David C. Bruffett's chapter in "Inside the Minds: Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, 2015 ed. published by Aspatore Books. Please call (315) 364-1155 or email us for a free consultation with Mr. Bruffett about your DWI case. There are many mistakes that are commonly made by law enforcement when investigating DWI crimes. For instance, officers commonly, and mistakenly believe that crossing the fog line is a reason to stop a vehicle for an alcohol-related offense, but that is not so. There have been...

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Changing Law Enforcement Methods for Apprehending DWI Suspects

DWI Roadblocks an Police Targeting DWI One of the approaches that we are seeing when it comes to apprehending DWI suspects is a stronger mandate for officers to specifically target people who may be drinking and driving. Roadblocks, regular patrols dedicated to DWI enforcement and increased training regarding proper arrest of suspected DWI offenders are just a few of the ways the police are adapting to the volume of DWI offenders.    Indeed, there seems to be a great deal of increased pressure on officers to catch people who may be guilty of DWI. Officers I speak with from...

Impacts of Recent DWI Trends on Negotiating with the DA’s Office

The recent trends in DWI prosecution have made it harder to negotiate with the local DA’s offices in DWI cases—and again, some individual counties have their own policies in terms of how they handle alcohol-related offenses. It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain the type of disposition for your client that you could have received five or six years ago, simply by demanding it. For many years it was almost assumed that a first time DWI defendant, who was not involved in an accident and whose BAC was not very high, could receive an offer of a DWAI, a violation level offense.  Now in...

Possible Severe Impact on Driving Privilege with Alcohol Related Convictions

Dangerous Repeat Offenders and Increased Look Back Time Periods A trend that I am seeing in the area of driver’s licenses is an increasing number of clients who have committed multiple alcohol-related offenses who are facing serious limitations to their ability to have an unrestricted driver’s license, even a lifetime denial of their driving privileges. This is an area of the law that attorneys who represent clients charged with DWI related matters need to be fully educated so they can sufficiently inform their clients as to ramifications of their conviction. They can labeled...

New Laws Impacting New York DWI Cases

Increased Pressure for Increased DWI Penalties There is an immense amount of pressure being exerted on the New York State legislature from outside groups such as MADD and other advocacy groups to put laws in place that will presumably deter people from drinking and driving. For example, back in 2013 the New York State Senate passed legislation requiring mandatory jail sentences for repeat DWI offenders. However, we are finding that the passage of such legislation does not seem to be impacting the number of drivers convicted of DWI. Unfortunately, most people who are repeat DWI offenders...

Can you give me an overview of the NY DWI Law?

New York DWI Law: Overview The “DWI Law” in New York is contained in Vehicle and Traffic section 1192 and is titled “Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs”. The law includes 6 separate offenses; here we will cover 3 of the most frequently charged offenses; misdemeanor Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), misdemeanor Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Agg. DWI), and the non-criminal charge of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). Each DWI charge is a separate offense and a driver may be facing compounding penalties and conviction...

Why the Reason for a Stop is Critical to Your DWI Case

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the rights of the people to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.  The Fourth Amendment protects against arbitrary arrests and is the basis of the law on search warrants, wiretaps, and other privacy law. It  is a central concern of criminal prosecution and defense. For a DWI case, the Fourth Amendment's protection from arbitrary arrests applies to the reason why a police officer stopped a vehicle. An officer will stop a vehicle for some suspected violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, for example...

The Right Trial Counsel is Critical on DWI Appeal

Skilled trial counsel is essential at every stage of a DWI case to preserve your rights. Many people believe that an appeal can cure any mistake that may have occurred in the lower court. This is not how New York appellate courts operate. An appellate court will only consider issues that have been preserved for review. For example, in a recent case, a driver appealed his conviction for aggravated DWI on a number of grounds. The driver’s appellate lawyer argued that the accusatory instrument contained hearsay allegations. The Court held the issue was unpreserved for review and did not...

Driving while “impaired” by Alcohol in New York

 New York has one DWI law with 6 sections; each section is a separate charge. The first subsection, called “DWAI”, makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while the person's ability to operate such motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol. (NY VTL 1192(1)). But the law does not define what “impaired” means and lawyers attacked that law for being unconstitutionally vague. The highest Court in New York rejected the attack and decided that impairment to any extent on driving from alcohol can support a DWAI charge. So to determine what...

DWI Law Applies On Roadways Both Public and Private (like parking lots)

 At first glance, it may appear that state DWI laws should not apply to private property, like a parking lot. If you owned a business with a parking lot, you might think it would be ok for you to do just about anything on that property. Or, if you were a defense lawyer, you might argue that the state laws should not apply to that private parking lot because the town or village had not enacted a law or ordinance authorizing the application of the New York law to that private parking lot.  The law, however, is often applied in ways not readily apparent. For example,  a police...





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