Facing criminal charges of any kind can be a daunting experience, especially when you are accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Manhattan, NY. It is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle in Manhattan while impaired by alcohol or drugs. If a police officer notices a driver operating their vehicle erratically or if they stop a driver for a moving violation, this could amount to probable cause to conduct a traffic stop and/or arrest. If a police officer confirms that a driver is impaired by some substance and their ability to drive safely is impaired, the officer will arrest the driver.
This can be a frightening experience for anyone, especially if you are unjustly accused of violating New York DWI laws. If the police fail to establish probable cause, if they did not follow applicable procedures in handling your arrest, booking, or chemical testing, or if you believe any other variables have led to a wrongful arrest, you need to speak with a Manhattan DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. If you did break the law, you will certainly need defense representation if you hope to minimize your penalty as much as possible.
The Vitaliano Law Firm can provide the aggressive criminal defense representation you need when faced with DWI charges of any kind in Manhattan. Our firm has assisted many clients in Manhattan with all types of criminal cases, including those pertaining to violations of New York’s DWI laws. Whether you need to prove your innocence or diminish your penalty for conviction as much as possible, our team can assess the details of your case and help you determine your best available defensive strategies.
Every American citizen has two very important constitutional rights that come into play when they are arrested for any criminal offense. First, they have the right to remain silent. While some believe that staying quiet during arrest and booking is a tacit admission of guilt, this simply is not true, and it is always best to fully exercise your right to remain silent no matter the circumstances of your arrest. Even if you feel compelled to try and explain your side of the story after a wrongful arrest, doing so is unlikely to benefit you in any way. When the police arrest you, they will read your Miranda rights which include the line, “You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.”
If you are placed under arrest, pay close attention to your Miranda rights. Comply with the arresting officer’s directions and say nothing until you are allowed to make your phone calls. The second constitutional right that comes into play during an arrest is the right to have an attorney’s representation. Every American has the right to legal counsel when they are charged with a crime, and this right still applies if they cannot afford to hire an attorney. Some defendants may not want to pay private defense attorneys’ fees. When a defendant is unable or unwilling to hire an attorney, the court can appoint a public defender to represent them at no cost.
This may seem like a prudent choice after an arrest, but a private Manhattan DWI defense attorney can offer more responsive and individualized defense counsel in your case. When you choose The Vitaliano Law Firm to represent you, we will immediately begin reviewing the details of the procedure. If we notice any failures of due process or other procedural missteps, we will help you determine the best methods of addressing them. Attorney Vitaliano has experience as a New York City prosecutor and knows how the local criminal court system tends to handle DWI cases. Once our team assesses the details of your case, we’ll help you create a solid defense, seeking case dismissal if possible or a penalty reduction if necessary.
Every state enforces different statutes pertaining to DWI offenses. In Manhattan, a driver is guilty of driving while intoxicated if they operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. When it comes to alcohol, the state uses a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement system to determine impairment. The legal BAC limit for most drivers in New York is .08%, .04% for commercial vehicle drivers, and zero BAC for all drivers under 21 and drivers on probation for past DWI convictions.
A police officer can conduct a traffic stop for suspected DWI if they observe a driver operating their vehicle erratically, unsafely, or if the driver commits a moving violation. This may be enough to justify a traffic ticket, but to conduct an arrest for DWI, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is intoxicated. The officer may ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test, but the state’s implied consent law only applies to chemical tests administered following lawful arrests for DWI.
The police may confirm a driver is impaired by alcohol or other drugs and establish probable cause for an arrest in various ways. They may smell alcohol on the driver’s breath, visually identify open alcohol containers, drugs, and/or drug paraphernalia in the car, or watch a driver leave a bar visibly impaired and then get into their car. Once the police arrest a driver, the driver must submit a chemical test sample to confirm their intoxication level.
Like most other states, New York enforces a range of penalties that can apply to any DWI case, and a defendant’s sentence amplifies when they have a prior conviction within the past five years. For a first-time DWI, the defendant can expect to face at least $1,000 in fines, up to a year in county jail, and a six-month suspension of their driver’s license. They are also likely to face a one-year ignition interlock device (IID) installation in their vehicle, which will prevent it from starting until they submit a breath sample. Penalties increase significantly with subsequent offenses within five years or in light of aggravating factors.
If a defendant has injured or killed someone, their potential penalties could escalate dramatically, potentially including vehicular manslaughter and criminal negligence charges. They could also face a wrongful death claim from a victim’s family, and a victim who survives would likely file a personal injury claim against the DWI driver. Beyond the penalties assigned by the court and the civil liabilities owed to the plaintiff, the defendant is also likely to face a wide range of personal and professional consequences for their actions.
A DWI conviction can lead to the loss of your professional licenses and your memberships in professional organizations. You could lose your job, and your criminal record will make it exceedingly difficult to secure new employment in the future. You will also face a diminished reputation in your community, and you could also face loss of your custody rights and other constitutional rights, depending on the severity of your offense.
Facing the Manhattan criminal justice system can be incredibly daunting for anyone, no matter what charges they face. In a case involving DWI, the defendant could face a host of immediate and long-term consequences that change their life in various ways. The best approach to this difficult situation is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney you can trust to guide you through your case.
After an arrest, you will need to submit a chemical sample so the police can confirm your DWI status. Make sure you do not resist arrest; don’t try to argue with the police. If you believe they have mishandled your arrest, booking, or testing in any way, be sure to raise these concerns with a defense attorney as soon as possible. New York law permits you to make phone calls after booking, and you should contact an experienced Manhattan DWI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
The prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The goal of your defense attorney is to stop them from doing so, and this is possible in various ways. Depending on whether you committed the offense in question and the manner in which the police handled your arrest and booking, you could avoid conviction by establishing an alibi, submitting contradictory evidence that counteracts the prosecution’s case, or by highlighting failures of due process, violation of your rights, or other procedural errors made by the police and/or prosecution.
The Vitaliano Law Firm develops individualized defense strategies for every client we represent. We know that no two cases are exactly alike, and every DWI defendant faces different obstacles when it comes to avoiding conviction. Whether you have been wrongfully arrested for a DWI you did not commit, or you need help reducing your sentence, a Manhattan DWI defense attorney is the best asset to have on your side.
A: Most criminal defense attorneys in Manhattan offer representation at an hourly rate. The more time they spend handling a client’s case, the more it costs the client. Every attorney has different billing policies, and some are flexible in their rates for certain types of cases. Always verify the details of a prospective defense attorney’s billing before you agree to their counsel.
A: If a police officer suspects a driver has operated their vehicle while intoxicated by drugs other than alcohol, this is typically much harder to prove than intoxication by alcohol. Different substances metabolize differently in the body. It’s possible for a driver to test positive for an illicit drug long after the inebriating effects have subsided. If you believe you have been wrongfully charged after a chemical test for drugs, your Manhattan DWI defense attorney will help you determine the best defenses in this situation.
A: Your Manhattan DWI defense attorney could potentially have your case dropped if you are able to prove the officer who arrested you failed to follow due process in their handling of your arrest. The police must establish probable cause before they can conduct a traffic stop for suspected DUI, and the officer must then establish further cause to justify an arrest.
A: Some first-time DWI offenders may qualify to have their charges reduced and/or penalties lightened through the plea bargaining process. Plea bargains are agreements between prosecutors and defendants. The defendant submits a guilty plea, and then the prosecutor agrees to reduce the defendant’s penalty and/or reduce or drop charges in the case. Your Manhattan DWI defense attorney can advise you as to whether you could have your sentence reduced if convicted.
A: Hiring the right defense counsel can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your impending criminal case. When you have an attorney you can trust advising you, they can help you make more informed decisions about every aspect of your case. They will also help you prepare for each courtroom appearance and determine the best strategies available to you for crafting your defense.
The Vitaliano Law Firm has years of experience providing responsive and meticulous criminal defense representation to clients in Manhattan and surrounding areas of New York City. If you are struggling in the aftermath of a DWI arrest and aren’t sure what you should do to protect yourself, exercise your right to remain silent when you are placed under arrest. Once you are allowed to make your phone calls, exercise your right to legal counsel and reach out to a defense attorney you can trust. Contact The Vitaliano Law Firm today to schedule your consultation with a Manhattan DWI defense attorney.