Blog

Understanding NY Bills S-1446 and S-3769 and What They Mean to a DWI Accident involving Injury

The New York State Senate has been busy this year passing legislation that could greatly expand the scope of DUI/DWI testing. Although the votes of the New York State Assembly are still out, it is evident that it is becoming even more important to know your rights and quickly contact an attorney – especially if you are involved in a serious crash in New York.

Under current law, law enforcement can decide whether or not to conduct chemical testing after an accident based on reasonable cause. Under the Senate’s newly passed bills, if a vehicle accident causes serious injury or death, chemical testing would be required in most circumstances, at the very least.

Chemical Test Required Based on “Reasonable Belief” if Serious Injury or Death

In March, the NY Senate passed Bill S-1446, sponsored by Senator Flanagan, which requires a chemical test whenever a vehicle accident causes serious injury or death and it is reasonably believed that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, rather than leaving the decision to the discretion of law enforcement, S-1446 mandates testing, which can be a breath, blood, or urine test. Moreover, the occurrence of an accident itself may be sufficient for establishing reasonable cause. If a driver refuses consent, law enforcement can obtain a warrant or court order.

Field Tests and Blood Alcohol Level Test Required If Serious Injury or Death

The Senate turned around in May and is attempting to expand DUI/DWI testing even further by passing Bill S-3769, sponsored by Senator Robach, which completely does away with both the “reasonable belief” requirement and the consent requirement if a vehicle accident results in serious physical injury or death. Under S-3769, even if a driver does not appear impaired, law enforcement can require any driver involved in such an accident to submit to field sobriety and blood alcohol tests at the scene. If a driver refuses to consent, the police report can include a presumption of guilt which can be used at trial. Finally, the bill requires such tests to be conducted at a hospital if the injuries are too severe to test at the scene.

What You Need to Know about DUI/DWI’s in New York

If you have been involved in an accident where serious injury or death occurred, you need to consult with legal counsel as soon as possible. Regardless of whether the Assembly passes S-1446 or S-3769, law enforcement is being pressured to crack down. If charged, navigating the process of a DUI/DWI case can be extremely complicated, and you need someone you can trust to help improve your situation.

Contact Us

If you live in the Bronx, Jason A. Steinberger is just a phone call away – 718-585-2833 — and he can be reached at any time to discuss your DUI/DWI charge. Jason will fight for your rights and keep you informed while addressing your questions and concerns. You won’t regret having him as a strong advocate to help you through a DUI/DWI case. Call today to get the help and support you need.

How DUI or DWI Will Affect Your Insurance

One scary consideration for many drivers after a DUI/DWI arrest is the question of how it will affect their insurance premiums. If you have just had a DUI/ DWI, you probably haven’t seen any immediate changes to your insurance costs and you are wondering what is going to happen.

A DUI/ DWI conviction will probably have an effect on your premiums eventually. If you were deemed responsible for an accident related to drinking or drugs, your insurance company will be notified immediately. They will then do one of three things:

  • Drop you from their coverage and require you look for another company
  • Substantially raise your rates
  • Place you in a new higher-risk category of coverage, which will either lower your coverage or your raise premiums (or both)

If you were simply stopped at a DUI checkpoint, your insurance company will probably not be notified unless your license is revoked or suspended by the DMV. If you haven’t yet been to your first appearance in court, any sort of temporary suspension (such as a suspension pending prosecution) will not have been reported.

This doesn’t mean you are in the clear, though. Insurance companies can run your driving history at any time and find out about your DUI/DWI and take the same actions they would for an accident. Insurance premiums can increase by hundreds of dollars. Typically, insurance agencies run a driver’s history once every few years, and if you ever change states of residency or insurance companies, they will run a check on your driving history.

Although in New York a DUI/DWI conviction won’t add points to your license, they will accrue what the DMV calls “negative units” on your record. Negative units are notes on your unseen record that will still be reported to insurance companies when they request your driving history.

In New York, the insurance companies get what is called an “abstract” of all the driving violations for which you have ever been charged. This would not only include your DUI/DWI, but also any speeding tickets or other infractions, all of which will affect your insurance premiums for up to three years after the incident.

The good news is that after three years if you have no other points against your name, your insurance company will no longer be able to penalize you for the DUI or DWI. Even if your current company drops your coverage, there are many other companies willing to take you on as a customer.

Contact Us

The best way to avoid this problem is by successfully contesting a DUI/ DWI charge and having it dismissed. Jason Steinberger is a DWI/ DUI Defense Lawyer in Bronx County with years of experience in successfully contesting DUI/ DWI cases. Even if he can’t have your case dismissed outright, he will fight to help you receive the best possible outcome. Jason Steinberger can be reached any time to discuss your case at 646-256-1007. Call now to get more information about your DUI/DWI case and get the support you need.

Possible Penalties for DUIs in New York

There is no doubt that the serious penalties of a DUI can be devastating. The following are the most common punishments for a DUI in New York:

Fines and Financial Penalties

The most common penalties for a DUI conviction are various fines and other financial penalties that include:

  • Jail fees
  • Tickets that cost up to thousands of dollars
  • Storage and towing charges for your impounded cars
  • Repair costs for any damages that you may have caused
  • Hospitalization and rehabilitation costs for yourself or any person you injured
  • Insurance fees
  • Bail bonds

Suspension of Your License

Often, if you are convicted of a DUI, your license will be suspended. That means you will be unable to operate any vehicle in New York for several months to even several years, depending on the severity of the DUI. If you are still in school or need to use your vehicle to get to work, it is possible to petition the court to get limited permission to use your vehicle fitted with an interlocking device. This device will prevent your vehicle from starting and running if it detects alcohol content on your breath through the BAC test. However, these permissions are not guaranteed to be granted.

Imprisonment

If you are convicted of a DUI, you could even face jail time. This is especially true if you have previous DUI convictions.

Any of these punishments can be combined and issued by the courts. While it may be possible to get a DUI conviction off your record, often a DUI conviction will have later consequences beyond even these. Since a DUI stays on your record in most cases, it can be more difficult to get certain jobs or to pass certain security clearances. In some cases, it may even affect custody agreements or other legal arrangements. Because the consequences of a DUI conviction are so far-reaching, it is very important for you to get the help you need to fight the charges before they affect you permanently.

Get Help Fighting a DUI Conviction from an Experienced Attorney

A lawyer can help you fight a DUI conviction at every step of the court proceedings. They can help you understand realistically what your chances of fighting the charges successfully will be and work to establish reasonable doubt of your guilt. Your lawyer will find out about your background and your case to determine the best way to get the best possible outcome for your case.

You may not be able to avoid all penalties from your DUI arrest, but you should make sure that you have a lawyer who will fight for you to get the best results possible for your unique case. If you have been charged with a DUI in New York, call me, Jason Steinberger, at 718-585-2833 to represent you in your DUI case. My offices are available 24/7, and I will provide you a free consultation to help you understand your options before we get started working together. I served as a Bronx Prosecutor earlier in my career, which makes me more familiar with the possible interpretations of local laws. I will always use this knowledge to fight for you to get the best possible outcome for your case.

What is Basic Due Process for Criminal Cases in NY?

the judge hammer a judge in court. located on a desk.If you have been accused of a crime in New York, you have the right to due process of law. However, you may not know just how important due process is. Due process assures that you are given a fair hearing and that you have the opportunity to confront your accuser. It is only through proper due process that you have the chance to assert your innocence.

It is not always clear to people that are not lawyers what the term “due process” means. While there are many concepts that come to mind when you hear the phrase “due process,” the most important two considerations are notice and confrontation.

Making Sure You Have Received Proper Notice

If you have been accused of a crime, authorities have to properly notify you before they can take action:

  • Against your Property – Such as impounding your car after a DUI charge
  • Against your Personhood (or your liberty and freedoms) – Such as arresting you and putting you in jail after you have been accused of a crime
  • Against your Privileges (or your license or rights) – Such as revoking your driver’s license after a DUI charge.

This means that before any government authority can take anything from you, you have a right by law to understand what actions are being taken against you and why your rights would be taken away

Notice has to be given before you lose any rights so that you have the chance to built a defense. Furthermore, in criminal cases, you must be given clear information on the specific charges against you and the probable cause that allowed police to arrest you. By getting proper notice, you are able to consult an attorney and prepare a case for your defense.

Due Process Assures You Can Confront Your Charges

The other important element of due process in criminal cases is an opportunity to confront the charges made against you. There are three ways that you can do this:

  • You can challenge the proof or evidence against you. If evidence has been acquired illegally, a lawyer can petition to have it made inadmissible during trial. You can also challenge the validity of any tests that support your guilt.
  • You can confront your accuser. You have the right, if you choose, to take the stand and give your own testimony. You can also have police or your accuser cross-examined to find holes in their testimony.
  • You can contradict proof being used against you. You have the chance to show your own evidence. You can bring in experts and witnesses to testify on your behalf.

The confrontation element of due process assures that your side of the story will be heard.

Consult a Lawyer to Make Sure Your Rights are Protected

While in the United States we are assured protection of our rights by law, sometimes uninformed citizens are taken advantage of by actions that may be considered violations of due process. All people accused of crimes have the right to an attorney who can help make sure that due process is observed and can build a defense case.

If you have been accused of a crime, make sure to contact a lawyer with experience to help you through every step of the legal process. I have served as a Bronx Prosecutor, meaning that I am very familiar with the way due process works in New York. Call me, Jason Steinberger, at 718-585-2833 for a free consultation today to get a lawyer on your side to fight the criminal charges. I look forward to helping you with your case.

Is it Illegal to Be Intoxicated Publicly in NY?

Whether or not it is illegal to be publicly intoxicated in New York depends on the particular situation. It is not illegal to be publicly intoxicated from alcohol usage, but it is illegal to be publicly intoxicated from drug usage. In fact, the latter could lead to a jail sentence of up to 15 days and a fine of $250 if the person is found guilty. However, according to the New York Penal Code, this is only the case if the person intoxicated from drug use is acting in a violent manner or being publicly annoying. In other words, while you cannot be arrested for merely seeming to be under the influence of a drug or narcotic other than alcohol in public, you certainly can be arrested if your behavior is violent or disruptive.

Protective Custody Laws

Additionally, it is important to note that it is legal for a police officer to place someone who is publicly intoxicated into protective custody, but only if the person consents. However, if the intoxicated individual is incapacitated and acting irrationally, the police officer does not need the individual’s consent to take him or her into custody. The police officer can take the intoxicated person either home or to a hospital. If the person is in poor condition, and it seems that he or she cause harm, then the officer must take the person to a hospital and have the person examined. If the doctor determines that the individual is possibly a danger, then it is legal for the individual to be maintained in protective custody for 48 hours maximum.

Stay Away from the Keys Even if You Are Not Driving

Finally, take extreme caution while being around your car while you are intoxicated. Even if you are not planning to drive your car while intoxicated, sitting behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition can cause you to be arrested for a DWI. The law judges this as possible intent and due to the seriousness of DUIs and DWIs, it may not matter if you were planning on driving while intoxicated.

Therefore, while it is not technically illegal to be intoxicated publicly from alcohol usage in New York, keep in mind that there are many subtleties to the laws that could still land you in trouble.

Contact Jason Steinberger

If you have been charged with a DWI, or any crime relating to public intoxication in which you believe you have been unfairly treated or charged, contact me, Jason Steinberger, and I would be happy to provide you with a free legal consultation. My number is 718-585-2833 and I can be reached 24/7. I take great pride in standing up for ordinary citizens and ensuring that they are aggressively and fairly represented in every situation.

Page 1 of 212