If you have been arrested for DWI, the steps you take immediately following your arrest can dramatically impact the outcome of your case. When it comes to any type of criminal investigation, it is wise to say as little as possible until you have had the opportunity to speak with your attorney. It is shockingly easy to incriminate yourself with only a few spoken words. When in doubt, always remember that less is more.
That being said, it is important to remain polite and courteous, and to provide police with the minimal required information, such as your name and address, if you’ve been arrested on suspicion of DWI. Beyond that, simply state that you would like to consult with your lawyer before saying another word. If the officer continues to push you for more information, just keep repeating the phrase, “I would like to speak with my lawyer.” Even seemingly innocent statements such as, “I just had one beer several hours ago,” can lead to a DWI conviction.
At Sayegh & Sayegh, our highly skilled team of DWI defense attorneys have successfully protected the rights of countless individuals charged with DWI and other criminal offenses. It’s never wise to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks, but we understand that mistakes happen, and we will work tirelessly to keep your record and reputation clean.
Your Rights During a DWI Stop or Arrest
You can protect your rights and best interests when arrested for DWI by familiarizing yourself with your legal rights, invoking those rights, and remaining calm. If you have been stopped on suspicion of DWI, remember these key facts:
What you say can be used against you
You may be detained if you refuse to identify yourself. Furthermore, if stopped in a vehicle, you should be able to produce a driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance;
If police suspect that you are intoxicated, they may require you to participate in a breath and/or coordination test. Refusing or failing either of these tests will likely result in arrest;
If you are stopped or arrested, you have the right to remain silent;
In order to exercise this right, you should clearly state, “I wish to remain silent;”
You are not required to consent to a search of your person or your vehicle without a search warrant;
If the police tell you that they have a search warrant, ask them to see it;
If they cannot produce a search warrant, clearly state, “I don’t consent to a search;”
You have the right to ask if you are under arrest, or if you are free to leave the scene; and
Police are required by law to identify themselves and provide a business card if requested.
When You Are Required to Speak
If you have been stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, you can choose to remain silent, but this does not mean that you can simply ignore the officer. You must state that you would like to remain silent until you’ve had a chance to speak to your attorney. You must also provide minimal identifying information if the officer asks for it. This includes your name, birth date, and driver’s license/registration if you have them.
DWI Penalties in New York
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is illegal in New York, as in all 50 states. DWIs are punished harshly in NY, and even a first-offence conviction can lead to jail time, a suspended license, and hefty fines. Being convicted of DWI can also jeopardize current and future employment, increase your insurance premiums and result in a permanent criminal record. Fortunately, there are many defenses against DWI convictions, and an experienced New York DWI defense attorney will protect your rights and strive to get the charges against you reduced, or dismissed entirely. But the actions you take during and after the arrest can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
In New York, a DWI conviction can result in:
Jail time of up to one year for a first-offence DWI;
A six-month suspension of your driver’s license for a first-offence DWI;
Fines of up to $1,000, for a first-offence DWI;
An increase in insurance premiums;
The need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for six months to one year;
Alcohol/drug screening and/or treatment;
Loss of current job;
Difficulty obtaining employment in the future; and
A criminal record.
Penalties can be significantly more severe for a second or subsequent DWIs, or if aggravating circumstances were involved. Examples of aggravating circumstances include having an extremely high BAC, having a child in the car at the time of the DWI, or causing a serious injury or death.
How an Attorney Can Help You
By hiring an experienced NY defense attorney who specializes in DWI charges, you can dramatically improve your chances of a favourable outcome. A good attorney will meticulously analyze your case to determine if your constitutional rights were violated at any time during the arrest. They will also look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as improper administration of the breath test or issues with any of the evidence against you.
A DWI lawyer’s job becomes much more challenging, however, when the client incriminates himself during the arrest by saying too much. Remember, while it’s essential to be polite and courteous and provide police with your name, date of birth, and address, you have the right to remain silent and to ask to speak with your lawyer. Invoke that right and consult with an experienced DWI defense attorney without delay.
Contact Sayegh & Sayegh Law Today
If you have been charged with DWI, the skilled legal team at Sayegh & Sayegh can help. We have protected the rights of countless individuals who have been charged with DWI, and we have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed entirely. Our experienced team of DWI defense attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. Contact Sayegh and Sayegh Law today at (914) 222-8161 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.