If you find yourself stopped for a DWI/DUI in New York, there are certain steps that you should consider taking to increase your chances of a favorable outcome. While facing arrest is always nerve-wracking and frightening, remembering what to do and what to avoid in these situations can help you to win your case and avoid fees, penalties, jail time, and a conviction on your criminal record.
1. Stop as safely as possible as soon as you see police lights.
If you hear a siren or see police lights in your mirrors, pull off to the side of the road as soon as you can ensure the safety of yourself and your vehicle. Do not abruptly stop on a heavily trafficked highway, but make certain you do not travel too far, as the officer may believe you are attempting to elude him. Instead, use your turn signal to signal your intent, remain in your vehicle, and keep your window up enough to protect your breath from escaping. Make sure your hands remain on the wheel and keep your papers in an easily accessible location. It is important to be respectful at all times, avoid arguing with the officer, and remain in the car unless you are instructed to vacate the vehicle.
2. Respectfully decline any coordination tests at roadside.
If you are asked by the officer if you have been drinking, keep in mind that you are not required to admit to anything. You can politely decline to answer by simply stating that you must speak to your attorney before you make any statements. While you must ordinarily step out of your vehicle if requested to do so, you are not obligated to comply with the officer’s demands to submit to a coordination or sobriety test. Instead, you may simply remain quiet or agree to take the test at the police station.
3. Immediately request an attorney at the time of arrest.
It is important to avoid resisting arrest. Do not run or pull away, as these actions could result in additional charges such as a misdemeanor or resisting arrest. Place your hands behind your back and accept the handcuffs while you are read your Miranda rights. Immediately request an attorney and do not speak to the officer from that point onward. While you may wish to clear your name as soon as possible, remember that anything you say can and may be used against you.
4. Decline to answer any questions upon advice of your legal counsel.
Although you are obligated to tell police your identifying information such as your name, date of birth and address, you are not required to answer any questions or make any statements. Instead, remain silent unless you wish to request a telephone call to speak with a family member or an attorney. In fact, many individuals keep an attorney’s contact number in their pockets or store them in their cell phones in the event that they find themselves facing a DWI charge.
5. Take the breath test at the police station – most of the time.
The New York Department of Motor Vehicles will revoke your driver’s license if you decline to take the breath test. Consequently, it is often better to simply submit to the test at the police station – if you are not too intoxicated. If you know that you are well over the legal limit, you may face a more serious charge. Additionally, if you have previously been convicted of one or more DWIs, you likely already have at least one misdemeanor conviction, and you could potentially be charged with a felony. Therefore, refuse the breath test so that the District Attorney has less evidence against you. Make sure that you walk and speak with caution since the police often have surveillance equipment in that area of the station.
6. Do not discuss your case with others in the holding cells.
If you are placed into a holding cell, it is important to remain silent and avoid discussing your case with anyone else. Although another party is unlikely to repeat your admission, it is possible that the police station has installed microphones or video cameras in the room and may be listening to you or videotaping your actions. It is best to remain still and quiet to better your chances of avoiding a conviction.
A Defense Attorney May Be in Your Best Interest
While some motorists feel as though they can adequately represent themselves when they are facing a DUI/DWI conviction in New York, it may be more beneficial for you to work with an experienced defense attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected. DUI/DWI laws in New York may often be complex and confusing, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the legal process. In order to obtain the most favorable outcome possible, call me, Jason Steinberger, today at (718) 585-2833. I am available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and I will represent you to the best of my ability to ensure that you are treated fairly and with respect.