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Second DWI Charge in New York

In New York, prosecutors vigorously pursue cases involving drunk driving due to the alarming number of fatalities caused by impaired drivers each year. With a keen interest in public safety, prosecutors are committed to holding those charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) accountable for their actions. The severity of penalties for a DWI conviction underscores the importance of mounting a robust defense when facing such charges. When a defendant faces a second DWI charge, the potential penalties are event more severe. A strong defense is critical in navigating the legal complexities of DWI cases. An experienced New York DWI lawyer plays an important role in challenging the prosecution's case, scrutinizing the circumstances of the arrest, evaluating the accuracy of sobriety tests, and questioning the admissibility of chemical test results. Building a strong defense strategy requires a nuanced understanding of New York's DWI laws, ensuring that every legal avenue is explored to safeguard the rights and interests of the accused.

DWI Charges in New York

New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192 includes several categories of charges related to driving while intoxicated by alcohol or by drugs:

  • DWAI/Alcohol: Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) due to a blood alcohol content (BAC) ranging from .05 to .07 (.02 for individuals under 21) or other evidence of impairment. VTL § 1192(1)
  • DWI/Alcohol Per Se: Offense: Driving While Intoxicated with a BAC of .08 or higher. VTL § 1192(2)
  • DWI/Alcohol Common Law: Driving While Intoxicated without a recorded BAC but with observable characteristics demonstrating intoxication.
  • DWAI/Drugs: Driving While Ability Impaired due to the influence of a single drug. VTL § 1192(4)
  • DWAI/Combination: Driving While Ability Impaired due to a combination of alcohol and drugs or a combination of different drugs. VTL § 1192(4-a)
  • Aggravated DWI: Driving with an exceptionally high BAC of .18 or higher. NY VTL § 1192(2-a)
Second DWI Charge in New York Defined

In New York, a charge for DWI in any form becomes a second offense if you have a prior DWI conviction. However, New York's DWI law employs a look-back period, which is the timeframe during which the legal system considers prior offenses for enhanced penalties. The look-back period is not an extensive retrospective analysis; rather, it focuses on specific durations:

  • For a new DWI charge, the look-back period is ten years.
  • For a new charge of DWAI or aggravated DWI, the look-back period is five years.

This means that if you are charged with a DWI offense, the legal consequences will be heightened if you have a prior conviction within the respective look-back period.

Penalties for Second DWI

The penalties for a second DWI vary, depending on whether the second DWAI/Alcohol offense, second DWI, DWI/drug, or DWI/combination offense, or a second aggravated DWI offense.

  • Second DWAI/Alcohol offense. A maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $500 to $750, and a six-month license revocation.
  • Second DWI, DWI/drug, or DWI/combination offense. One to four years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and a license suspension of one year. The defendant will also be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle.
  • Second aggravated DWI offense. The penalties are the same as for a Second DWI charge in New York, except the license suspension will be for at least 18 months.
Defenses to DWI Charge in New York

Defenses to a DWI charge in New York center on challenging the evidence and procedures involved in the arrest. A common defense is questioning the legality of the traffic stop, asserting that law enforcement lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause. For example, in People v. Wallgren, 94 A.D.3d 1339 (N.Y. App. Div. 2012), police officers observed the defendant's vehicle exhibiting erratic behavior in a dark, rural area. After stopping, the officers approached, detected an alcohol odor, and observed signs of intoxication. The defendant failed sobriety tests and allegedly resisted arrest. County Court initially suppressed evidence, questioning the officers' justification for approaching the stopped vehicle. The court deemed the officers' motivations irrelevant but focused on the defendant's actions before arrest. The Appellate Division reversed the decision, asserting the officers had credible reasons to approach, citing the defendant's erratic driving in a dimly lit area. The court upheld probable cause, finding the officers' observations justified the DWI arrest and resisting arrest charge.

Additionally, challenges may arise concerning the accuracy and reliability of chemical tests used to measure blood alcohol content (BAC). Defendants may question the maintenance and calibration of breathalyzer machines, arguing potential inaccuracies.

Officers are expected to adhere to strict procedures during DWI arrests. Any deviations, such as improper administration of field sobriety tests or failure to inform the suspect of their rights, may be grounds for defense. Medical conditions affecting a person's appearance or behavior could also be raised as an explanation for perceived impairment.

Moreover, challenges may focus on the chain of custody of blood or urine samples, raising concerns about potential contamination or mishandling. An experienced DWI attorney in New York can scrutinize the entire process, seeking weaknesses that could cast doubt on the prosecution's case.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, we recognize the challenges and uncertainties that accompany a second DWI charge in New York. Our team of experienced DWI attorneys serving New York is dedicated to providing the legal support you require to navigate the complexities of the New York legal system. Don't let a second DWI disrupt your life. Reach out to us today for a consultation, allowing us to leverage our expertise on your behalf. Stephen Bilkis & Associates is your reliable partner in tackling DWI charges, empowering you to move forward. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the details of your situation. We serve clients in Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County. Your future is on the line, and we are here to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

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