Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence is an extremely stressful situation. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your arrest and your driving history, it could mean anything from a loss of driving privileges to a substantial term of imprisonment. With that in mind, one of the most important decision you will have to make is obtaining competent legal counsel. Like any other criminal case, the outcome of your case will be determined by not only the facts and circumstances of your particular case, but also the skill, competence and thoroughness of your attorney.
A little while ago a potential client contacted me after being referred by another attorney who was unable to take him on as a client. The potential client explained that for the last two years he had been dealing with a DUI/DWI case. He further explained that he was currently being represented by a public defender’s office and that his case was scheduled for trial, but he didn’t like how his case was being handled. He had a number of concerns. His main concern was whether he would go to jail? But he had two other very real concerns. First, he had lost his full driving privileges for the last two years and needed to have them restored to maintain his job. Secondly, he was concerned about being deported because he was not yet a citizen.
After agreeing to accept his case I immediately contacted his prior counsel to obtain the file. As you can imagine, after two years the file was somewhat extensive. In reviewing the file, I was able to determine that he was charged with three separate counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192.
A review of the file also revealed that there had been a number of court appearances, suppression motions had been filed by prior defense counsel resulting in suppression hearings being conducted.
Reviewing all the discovery in the case file is always important. However, when there is video, I pay careful attention to it. Very few things reveal the strengths and weakness of a case like a clear video of what transpired. Video captures those events that are often interpreted as the inconsequential action or interactions of people. However, those seemingly inconsequential events often have a profound effect on the case. In this particular case, the video captured my client burping. Burping may not seem like a big deal, but in the context of a DUI case that involves the integrity of the results of a chemical breath test, it is in-fact a very BIG deal.
In New York, when a person is charged with DUI, the administration of the chemical breath test is recorded. When, the chemical breath-test was administered on my client, he had burped several times immediately prior to him blowing into the machine. The administration of the test immediately after the subject burps was in stark contrast to the proper procedures for the administration of the test under New York law. Indeed, burping can have a material effect on the result of the test and can render the results of the test inadmissible as evidence.
Although prior defense counsel had previously filed suppression motions, I reviewed the basis for the motion to make sure that they covered all the relevant issues, including the issue of his burping. Lo and behold, the previous motions and hearings did not address this issue at all.
Armed with this information, I was able to effectively advocate for my client by arguing in court for additional suppression motions and hearings. This information also enabled me to have some very meaningful discussions with the prosecutor.
The case quickly went from “going to trial” to all charges being dismissed for a parking ticket. My client got his full driving privileges restored and was able to keep his job. More importantly, it didn’t affect his immigration status.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
Navigating the criminal justice system is difficult and has serious consequences. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is one of the single most important decisions you will make in your life. Make sure you hire an attorney that takes time to understand you as a person and your case in its entirety.
At the Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. each case is handled from the initial stage with the thoroughness as if it were going to trial. This enables me to not only understand the strengths of the defense, but more importantly, to effectively convey to the prosecutor the weaknesses of their case.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in New York call the Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. at (646) 792-2156. The results of all criminal prosecutions are determined by the facts and circumstances of your specific case and the skill and experience of your defense attorney. Call today for a free consultation.