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Nassau-Suffolk & NYC DWI Attorney

Defending A DWI In New York

In the State of New York a person will be arrested for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) if the person is operating a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition or while that person’s blood alcohol content is above .08%. An arrest for this is a crime.

A person will be arrested for DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol) is the person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol. A blood alcohol content of .06% or .07% will typically result in an arrest for DWAI.

A person will also be arrested for DWAID (Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs or Combined Influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol) This means not only illegal drugs, but prescriptions drugs. If you are believed to be impaired by a lawfully prescribed drug you can be arrested and prosecuted if the police officer believes you were impaired by that drug.

Increased pressure from groups like MADD, Dedicated, and the District Attorney’s Offices of Nassau and Suffolk Counties have resulted in more strict handling of DWI cases and more stringent guidelines regarding pleas and sentences. Only with an attorney who is experienced in handling DWI cases, can the case be successfully defended .

Arrested for DWI in NYC, Nassau or Suffolk County?

An arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) from alcohol and / or drugs can be an intimidating and worrisome event. First-time offenses are the most common in most geographical areas, which mean those arrested and charged will have little understanding of the legal process and what they are up against. Even those convicted of a first offense can face harsh consequences, including potential jail sentences, hefty fines, and the loss of their driver's license. As a result of more stringent guidelines regarding pleas and sentences, the first-time offender can easily find themselves facing a permanent criminal conviction, installation of ignitiion interlock devices in their cars, probation or even jail. Repeat offenders and those with aggravated circumstances, such as an injury or death, will face even more severe consequences, such as prison sentences, victim restitution, and license revocations for extended time periods.

New York courts take drunk and drug-impaired driving very seriously; prosecutors are anxious to apply the full extent of the law to those who drive with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit or who drive while impaired. That is why it is vital that you seek experienced legal representation. Not any legal representation will do, however. Because of the complexities of DWI defense, which combines technical and scientific expertise with legal knowledge, you should confer with an attorney who focuses specifically on this legal field. You will want a legal professional who routinely handles DWI / DWAI cases in your local area courts, who stays up to date with changing DWI laws, and who has the requisite additional training to provide you with the most effective defense. Our firm fulfills all of these requirements.

Special DWI Trained Legal Representation

At Grizopoulos & Portz, PC we are seasoned trial attorneys who have national DWI training and breath testing training from police departments. When you hire a DWI lawyer from our firm, you can be confident that your case will be thoroughly investigated to obtain all of the necessary information and evidence pertinent to your defense. Furthermore, you can rely on an attorney who is adept in all aspects of DWI defense, including proper police procedure, chemical testing protocols, testing equipment, their use and maintenance, and more.

Our firm can represent you throughout all aspects of your case, including both the administrative proceeding with the New York DMV which involves an automatic license suspension and the criminal proceeding in the courts. The sooner you contact us to get started with your DWI / DWAI defense, the more effective we can be. Call our offices 24/7 for a free case consultation with one of our skilled attorneys to learn how best to proceed with your defense.

Consequences Of Refusing A Breath Test

If you refuse to take the test, at your arraignment, your license or privilege to drive in the State of New York will be immediately suspended by the court. If you refuse the breath test, you are not eligible for any type of hardship license or conditional license, regardless of the reason you need the license.

The court will advise you of a hearing date withing 15 days to appear at the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you fail to appear at the DMV on that date it will be considered a waiver of your right to a hearing and your license will be immediately revoked for one year. At Grizopoulos & Portz, PC we believe that this hearing is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PHASE IN THE DEFENSE OF YOUR DWI CASE.

If you attend the hearing it is important that your attorney appear with you so that he may cross-examine the police officer that arrested you. Often times, the District Attorney has not had time to speak to and prepare the officer before the hearing. Therefore, he will be more likely to make a mistake, which will ultimately help your DWI defense.

At the DMV hearing the judge will limit the testimony to the following issues:

  1. Did the police officer have reasonable cause to believe the driver was operating the motor vehicle while in violation of any subdivision of Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192?
  2. Was the arrest of the driver lawful?
  3. Was the driver advised of the consequences of refusing a chemical test of his breath, blood or urine in clear and unequivocal language prior to his refusal or any portion thereof such that their refusal would result in the immediate and subsequent revocation of their license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the State of NY whether or not they are found guilty of the charges for which they have been arrested?
  4. Did the driver refuse to submit to the chemical test?

The hearing is presided over by an Administrative Law Judge. If all of the issues are established, the driver’s license will be revoked. If one or more are not established, the judge will reinstate the license.

The revocation is effective for 1 YEAR and the driver will be assessed a $750 civil penalty.

If your license is revoked at the DMV hearing, speak to an attorney at Grizopoulos & Portz, PC immediately. We may be able to appeal the decision and restore your driving privileges.

Drinking Driver Program (DDP)

According the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, the Drinking Driver Program helps the participants examine the arrest experience and the reason for their arrest. It also helps them learn to make appropriate driving decisions for the future. During the DDP introductory session, participants are asked to consider the reasons and goals of the program, and its requirements for completion. Under the guidance of the director and staff, the participants discuss the social, medical, legal, and driver safety problems caused by alcohol and other drug abuse. The program includes classroom education, screening, and evaluation and treatment if warranted.

As a DDP participant, you must attend all seven weekly classroom sessions. Each session takes 2 to 3 hours, for 16 hours total. When you satisfactorily complete the classroom sessions, your involvement in the DDP will end, UNLESS the program refers you for formal evaluation, and any resulting treatment.

If you are referred for evaluation, you may choose a provider from a list supplied by the DDP. If you are not satisfied with the results of the evaluation, you may contact the DDP director and request a second evaluation. However, you must accept the findings of the second evaluation.

After evaluation, you may be required to complete a formal substance abuse treatment program. If you fail to complete required evaluation or treatment, you will be dropped from the DDP and your conditional license will be revoked.

You will be dropped from the DDP and lose your conditional license if you:

  • do not attend class, any required evaluation, or treatment; or,
  • do not otherwise satisfactorily participate in the program; or do not pay the program fees, or
  • you are convicted of a traffic infraction which the DMV is notified of.

When you enroll in the DDP you must pay the DMV a nonrefundable fee of $75. After enrollment, you also must pay a fee directly to the agency that will conduct your DDP classes. The maximum DDP enrollment fee is $225, payable to the program you attend. Most programs charge a $175 fee.

At the completion of the program, depending on your license status and driving record, your license will be restored or you will be eligible to apply for a new license.

ADDITIONAL PENALTIES OF DWI

Probation

Probation is an alternative to incarceration that permits offenders to live and work in the community, support their families, receive rehabilitative services and make restitution to the victims of their crimes. Probationers are required to pay a monthly fee of up to $40 per month.

A judge may sentence you to probation (2 to 3 years for a DWI misdemeanor, 5 years for a felony) and may set specific conditions while on probation.

Ignition Interlock Device

Leandra's Law was signed into law on November 18, 2009 in honor of Leandra Rosado. Leandra was an 11-year old killed while she rode in a vehicle with the intoxicated mother of one of her friends. In response to this tragedy, the NYS Legislature made several changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). The law strengthened the penalties against motorists who drink and drive, and requires that

  • any person sentenced for Driving While Intoxicated on or after August 15, 2010 must have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle they own or operate for a minumum of 6 months,
  • the driver will have an "ignition interlock" restriction added to their driver license

An ignition interlock device connects to a motor vehicle ignition system and measures the alcohol content in the breath of the operator. The device prevents the vehicle from being started until the motorist provides an acceptable breath sample. Results are immediately reported to the Probation Department and to the judge in the courthouse.

You may be required to install this device in your vehicle and any and all vehicles registered to you. It also requires you to pay for the installation of the device and monthly service fees.

Call Grizopoulos & Portz, PC at 516-492-8220 immediately to discuss your case.

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