New York DWI Information Center

We’ve created this DWI Legal Information Center because DWI cases are a complex intersection between criminal justice and science.

No other crime has a purported scientific test that supposedly tells you automatically whether you are guilty or innocent.  No other charge is more frequently leveled against otherwise completely law abiding citizens.

Our DWI clients comprise some of the most successful business people, professionals and artists in the world.  They are not criminals and very often have not done anything wrong.  Simply stated: A DWI arrest can happen to anyone.  If you have a glass of wine at dinner and do not stop completely for a stop sign, you can be arrested and charged with a DWI in New York.  Because of this very scary fact, you need a team of lawyers that understands and studies DWI law and practices at the highest level of the bar.

We care deeply about providing the highest quality representation to our clients.  We look forward to the privilege of helping you too.

Fail a Breathalyzer Test?

Find out if the Intoxilyzer machine in your case was working properly by finding the maintenance documents related to your breath test.

DWI Dictionary

Often-used (and not often easily understood) terms relating to DWI / DUI, drunk driving, drinking and driving, DUID and other related info.

Understanding DWI / DUI

A DWI or DUI case can be a scary place. We have the experience to navigate you through the DWI legal process, and a track record of success.


Important DWI / DUI related info that you need to know:


New York DWI Law Information:

[tabs] [tabs-title]> DWI in New York: An Overview of the Offense[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]In New York, the prosecutor must establish the same basic elements in every DWI offense: (1) Driving/ Operation; (2) Of a Motor Vehicle; (3) On a Public Highway; (4) While Intoxicated or Impaired.  While the fourth element is the most important, all four must be established for a DWI case to stand.  Read more about the elements of a DWI offense.
[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>DWI Law in New York[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]DWI defendants in New York are typically charged with violating three different statutes:

VTL §1192(3) relates to a person operating a motor vehicle while their ability to do so is impaired by alcohol.

VTL §1192(2) charges driving while intoxicated for operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content equal to or in excess of .08%.

VTL §1192(1) is a traffic infraction but still has serious consequences for your auto insurance rates, travel and ability to rent a car.

Learn more about each statute here.
[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]> The Arrest[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]DWI arrests in New York typically occur in one of three situations: traffic stops, sobriety checkpoints and traffic accidents. Each situation requires a different legal defense that an experienced DWI attorney can guide you through. Learn more about where DUI arrests happen here.

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Penalties[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]In New York, DWI arrests require alcohol screening and license suspension pending trial.  Additional penalties vary based on whether this is your first offense or if you have been previously convicted of a DWI.  In those cases, penalties may include jail time, fines, license revocation and more.  Read the full list of DWI penalties here.

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]> The Arraignment[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]Most people arrested for DWI / DUI are arraigned within 24 hours in New York City. In Westchester and Long Island, however, most people are given a summons to return to court for the arraignment within 30 days. At the arraignment, your rights will be explained to you and you will be asked to enter a plea.

If you have been arrested on a DWI or DUI charge, chances are you will be very eager to put the experience behind you.  However, it is vital that you understand your rights and consider the outcome.  In fact, there are many reasons to fight your case.  Read the DWI arraignment here.

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Plea Bargaining[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]A motorist facing a drunk driving charge in NY must decide if they want to take the case to trial or accept a plea bargain. While plea bargains tend to be a good option when the prosecution has a particularly strong case against you, it’s always best to have a skilled DWI lawyer review your case and advise you of the best option.  Learn more about plea bargaining a DWI case in NY here.

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Pretrial Motions[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]A drunk driving defense attorney may introduce a number of motions before the DWI case goes to trial in New York–these are known as “pretrial motions.”  Such motions can considerably help your case by suppressing evidence that may harm your case or reveal information that may help your case–such as finding out about complaints against the the arresting officer.

Visit our DWI practice page for a full list of DWI pretrial motions and the impact they may have on your case.


More Information on Pretrial Motions

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]> Traffic Accidents Involving DWI and Sentencing Enhancements[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]Both the DMV hearing to determine driver’s license status and the criminal court case that stems from a drunk driving arrest can be successfully challenged, but these procedures can be complex, and the cost of losing can be high. That is why you need an experienced New York DUI / DWI criminal defense attorney who can develop an aggressive strategy to attack both the court case and the DMV refusal hearing.

Certain factors in DUI / DWI cases such as having children in the car, speeding, and being involved in an accident can prompt prosecutors to add sentencing enhancements to the complaint. Sentencing enhancements can add substantially to the punishment in a drunk driving case. A New York defense attorney experienced in handling DUI / DWI cases can explain the consequences of sentencing enhancements and help plan a strategic defense.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases that involve traffic accidents, particularly those that cause injury to someone other than the driver, are typically charged as a felony. If the sentencing enhancement of being involved in an accident is proven in conjunction with a felony DUI / DWI conviction, the driver faces an additional 90 days to one year in jail.

Sentencing enhancements can also be added for a number of other factors, including prior DUIs or “wet-reckless” convictions, or drunk driving offenses that involve a death or multiple victims. If proven, each allegation carries substantial penalties.

In some cases that include the sentence enhancement of being involved in an accident, the driver may want to consider a plea bargain if one is offered. Drivers who plead guilty before their cases reach trial typically receive negotiated punishment or reduced charges.

Any DUI / DWI case that involves sentencing enhancements has the potential to bring serious consequences. A lawyer skilled at defending drunk driving cases can explain the ramifications of sentencing enhancements, and plan a strategy to help the driver minimize the serious consequences that stem from charges of drinking and driving.[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]> Getting Your Car Back & Forfeiture Proceedings[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]As if two cases weren’t enough to deal with, if your car was seized upon your arrest, you may also have a civil proceeding called a forfeiture proceeding. Our lawyers and staff know the inner workings of the process involved in getting your car back and protecting your credit if you drive a leased vehicle.

We know the stakes are high. In order to have the best possible outcome for your DMV hearing, your criminal case, and your forfeiture proceeding, you need a lawyer with experience that you can count on. Call us: 646-742-9800 or send us a message.
[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Sobriety Tests[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]Field Sobriety Tests are designed to test an individual’s coordination and focus in order to determine intoxication or impairment. These tests fall into two categories: Standard Field Sobriety Test (such as a one-leg stand; walk-and-turn) and Non-Standard Field Sobriety Tests (finger-to-nose; finger counting; reciting ABC; etc).

The most important thing to note about sobriety tests is that they are not 100% accurate.

Refer to our DWI practice page to learn more about specific DUI / DWI Sobriety Tests and the impact they can have on your case.
[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]> Handling your New York DMV Case[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]In addition to the criminal court case, a New York DWI / DUI arrest may also result in a New York DMV case. If you refused to take a breath test, a DMV hearing will be scheduled within 15 days of your arrest. You must be present at this hearing in order to protect your right to drive. If you had a valid license when you were arrested, and you took a breath test, you may be able to qualify for a conditional license 30 days after your arrest. For the best possible outcome, you need an experienced DWI / DUI attorney to represent you at your DMV hearing. Sometimes people do not realize that they have had a DMV hearing scheduled and will not appear. In that case, you have defaulted at the hearing and your license will be revoked. If this happens to you, we can seek to vacate the default and reschedule your refusal hearing.
[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]> Our DUI / DWI Investigation[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]At Law Offices of Daniel A. McGuinness, PC we thoroughly investigate every DWI case. Our investigations include detailed reviews of all paperwork, an inspection of the DWI testing equipment, surveying the location of the alleged offense and much more. Read more about our DWI investigation process here.

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Post Conviction Relief[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]Even a non-criminal plea in a DWI case will be on your record for the rest of your life. However, under certain conditions you may be able to withdraw your plea.  We can help you determine if the conditions of your case allow for such a withdrawal.[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Chemical Tests[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]When police make a DWI or DUI arrest, they may try to establish intoxication by conducting a chemical breath test, a roadside breath test, a blood test or a urine test. Many people are under the mistaken impression that if a machine says you are above the legal limit, then  you are guilty–period.  It is not so cut and dry.  In fact, as our firm has revealed: many NYC breathalyzer machines are faulty.

Visit our DWI practice page for a detailed examination of DWI Chemical Testing.

Various Types of DUI / DWI Testing:

Search our NYPD BREATHALYZER TESTING RECORDS database

Use our database to see if the machine used to test you has a history of inaccuracy.

Contact us today for a free consultation: (646) 742-9800

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Refusal Cases & Refusal Hearings[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]In NY, you may refuse a breath test. While this is your legal right, it comes with consequences that could be as serious as the suspension of your driver’s license. A skilled DWI lawyer will substantially improve your chances of preventing such a negative outcome.

More information on:

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]> Special Licenses[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]Drivers who have a Commercial Driver’s License or a NYC TLC License–as well as School Bus Operators–may be subject to special penalties and requirements if they are convicted DWI or DUI.  In particular, being convicted of such a charge could put your entire livelihood in danger so it is in your best interest to hire the most experienced defense attorney you can procure.[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Out Of State Drivers[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]If you hold a license from another state and are charged in New York State, the Interstate Driver’s License Compact will play a role in your DWI case.  Simply put, out-of-state drivers arrested for DUI / DWI in New York face enormous financial and personal consequences.  Get more information here about how being an out of state driver may affect your DWI case in New York.

[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]> Felony Charges[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]DUI and DWI cases fall into three different categories: misdemeanors, felonies and what are often called “wobblers” (offenses that can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies).  Of course, it’s in your best interest to ensure your case avoids a felony charge.  While many factors will influence how your case is charged, any case that involves injury or death will likely be charged as a felony.

Visit our main DWI page for more information about when DWI cases are charged as a felony.
[/tabs-content] [tabs-title]>Related Offenses[/tabs-title] [tabs-content]When you’re charged with a DWI in New York, officers and prosecutors may also include related charges such as Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID), Endangering a Child (Leandra’s Law), Reckless Driving, Fleeing a Police Officer and much more.

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