Staying Safe This Holiday - DWI and Social Distancing (1)It’s the holiday season again. Although the coronavirus (COVID-19) will prevent many of us from getting together with family, friends and co-workers, there will still be some celebrations in smaller groups. With the stress from isolation through social distancing, many of us may be inclined to have a second (or third) glass of wine.  Not a problem if you stay at home, but a big problem if you get behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, this is the time of year when driving while impaired (DWI) arrests surge. Indeed, New York has already announced that its statewide crackdown on DWI’s begins today!

As discussed in a previous blog, DWI arrests include driving while ability impaired by drugs.

What to Do If You Are Stopped and/or Arrested For A Suspected DWI Offense

So what should you do if you are stopped and arrested for a suspected DUI offense? First and foremost, do not resist. Doing so usually results in the additional charge of resisting arrest. Secondly, you should remember that you have rights.

Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment Rights

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution provides every citizen and resident of the U.S. the right to remain silent and an attorney of their choosing in a criminal proceeding. In short, a person cannot be compelled to make a statement that could be self-incriminating.

However, under New York’s Implied Consent Law, if you are a motorist, it is implied you have given your consent to have your blood, breath, urine, or saliva tested for alcohol or drugs if stopped for suspected DWI. So, if you are stopped and asked to take a chemical test and you refuse, there are serious consequences, including an immediate license suspension for a minimum of six months. Additionally, your refusal can then be used as an admission of guilt in the criminal proceeding against you. Your refusal will be treated as if you admitted to driving under the influence!

As a general rule, refusing to submit to a chemical test creates more problems for you.

Why Hire an Attorney?

As you have probably determined, navigating a DWI offense is tricky. The results of all criminal prosecutions are determined by the facts and circumstances of your specific case. A skilled defense attorney will analyze all the relevant issues including:

  • the validity of the stop;
  • the propriety of the administered chemical tests;
  • the accuracy of the results of any and all tests;
  • the admissibility of any alleged statements;
  • any and all recordings of the stop, including dash-cam videos of the arresting officer(s); and
  • whether you have any medical or health issues unrelated to drug use to explain the alleged police observations.

Remember, you have rights and the district attorney still has the burden of proof in a criminal prosecution.

To stay safe this holiday season, remember to practice social distancing and don’t drink and drive.  Your friends and family will thank you.

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.