Aggressive DUI & DWI Defense for Tompkins County Clients
Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated is a serious offense. DUI is sometimes referred to as "drunk driving," but anyone can be arrested for it, even without being drunk.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI or DUI-related offense, it is important that you understand the consequences of DUI. You should not face a DUI case without legal representation to ensure you understand your rights, the charges, and the possible penalties.
Why Choose The Law Office of Charles H. Kee?
Are you facing charges for DUI in Ithaca? Turn to The Law Office of Charles H. Kee for skilled legal representation. As a former prosecutor, Charles H. Kee understands what it takes to be successful in court against all types of DUI charges. When you work with our firm, you can be confident your best interests are being represented every step of the way. We are committed to being fierce advocates on your behalf so that you can avoid fines, stay out of jail, and remain on the road.
While the terms DUI and DWI may seem interchangeable, in New York there are very distinct differences between the two.
- DWI (driving while intoxicated) specifically relates to those who operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol.
- DUI (driving under the influence) is a term that encompasses any case where the driver is impaired by a mind-altering substance – not only alcohol, but various drugs, including marijuana, heroin, some prescription drugs, and more. DWIs, then, are technically a type of DUI.
In New York, persons can be charged with a DUI even if they are not driving their vehicle. If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are liable for a DUI even if you turn on your vehicle’s engine and have no intention of driving.
Types of DUI Violations in New York
In the simplest terms, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime. However, there is a range of DUI charges you could face, depending on the specifics of your case.
The potential DUI charges in New York include:
- DWI – when a motorist is driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher or shows evidence of being intoxicated
- Aggravated DWI – when a driver has a BAC of .18% or higher
- DWAI/Alcohol – driving while ability impaired by alcohol charges can arise when the driver’s BAC is between .05% and .07% or when there is evidence of impairment
- DWAI/Drug – driving while one’s ability is impaired by a single drug other than alcohol
- DWAI/Combination – driving while one’s ability is impaired by a combined influence of drugs or alcohol
- Chemical Test Refusal – when a driver refuses to take a chemical test, whether by breath, blood, urine, or saliva
- Zero Tolerance Law – when a driver who is under the age of 21 has a BAC of .02% to .07%
Are Field Sobriety Tests Mandatory?
There is no requirement for you to participate in the field sobriety test. An officer must inform you that the tests are voluntary, but he or she is not obligated to do so. You are advised to decline participation politely. Nonetheless, the state-administered urine, breath, or blood test is mandatory. Refusing this test will result in the suspension of your license for one year. Following the reading of the implied consent notice, you will be requested to take this test.
New York’s Implied Consent Law
All drivers in New York are required to submit a breath, blood, urine, or saliva test when requested by an officer who has reasonable grounds to believe the motorist has violated DUI laws. Refusing to partake in the test can result in license suspension for 1 year to 1.5 years, as well as a civil penalty of $500 to $750.
What are the Penalties for DUI in New York?
Legal defense against DUI charges in Ithaca is imperative because of the stiff penalties that can result from a conviction.
To begin with, the court will suspend the license of any driver who had a BAC of .08% or higher at the time of the arrest. License suspension will also result if the person is charged with DWI per se, DWI, DWAI/Drug, or DWAI/Combination and has a prior DUI conviction within the past 5 years. This suspension begins at the arraignment and continues for the duration of the criminal prosecution.
If convicted, the defendant will also face a range of penalties, such as:
- Jail time
- License suspension
- Ignition interlock device installation
The specific penalties you could encounter depend on the severity of the crime and the number of previous convictions. A first-time DWI conviction, for example, will incur less severe penalties than a second or third offense DWI.
New York's “Zero Tolerance” Law
In the state of NY, if any driver who is under the age of 21 is found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.02%-0.07% while operating a vehicle, they will be subject to NY's “zero tolerance” law. This type of penalty is handled through the NY DMV, not through the criminal courts. You will receive a letter from the DMV with a scheduled hearing before the Administrative Law judge. If you are found guilty of violating the zero tolerance law you will be subject to a fine of $125 and a six-month license suspension. If you are convicted of violating the zero tolerance law a second time, you will be ordered to pay a penalty of $125 and have a suspension of your license for 1 year or until you turn 21 years old.
Can I Represent Myself in an Ithaca DUI Case?
It is possible, but you will be held to the same standards as a practicing lawyer. It is up to you to know all the rules of evidence, filing deadlines, courtroom procedures, and laws that pertain to your case. You put yourself at a disadvantage by representing yourself and foregoing the expertise of an experienced DUI attorney. To ensure that your rights and future are protected, you should hire an experienced Ithaca DUI Lawyer.
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