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Legal Defenses That Might Work in a DWI Charge


Experienced Defense Attorneys Defending You Against DWI Charges in Upstate New Yorkjudge's gavel

New York is serious when it comes to the state’s DWI laws. While the number of DWI arrests has fallen in recent years – a Division of Criminal Justice Services report shows 5,173 arrests during 2016, down from 6,556 arrests in 2007 – the consequences of any DWI conviction are significant and expensive. Loss of one’s driver’s license, fines, increased premiums for your family’s auto insurance, and the inability to keep some jobs is only the start.

Of course, just because a person has been charged with a DWI, it doesn’t always follow that he or she is guilty. Is it possible to fight a DWI charge in New York? What legal defenses can be utilized to defeat a DWI arrest? While every DWI case is different, here are five possible defenses that might work.

Legality of the DWI Stop

To stop a driver for a potential DWI charge, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed. For example, there must be erratic driving or some other activity that alerts the officer, and the officer’s suspicion must be reasonable. It may not be a mere whim. There are occasions when the initial stop itself can be attacked.

Field Sobriety Tests Can Be Challenged

Despite what police officers often refer to as “standardized” field sobriety tests, the results of such tests are not always reliable. Results can vary with a person’s physical fitness and with poor weather conditions. Let’s face it: Some of us are also just plain clumsy.

Breathalyzer Tests Are Not Always Reliable

As with field sobriety tests, many breathalyzer tests are improperly given and their results may be unreliable. Issues as to maintenance of the testing equipment, or inadequate training of those performing the tests, can sometimes be used to prevent the introduction of the testing results in court.

Blood Tests Are Subject to Challenge

If the DWI defendant underwent a blood test, that test may be susceptible to some of the same challenges that apply to a breathalyzer test. Moreover, if the person charged is taking certain prescription medications, those medicines can result in a faulty reading of the defendant’s blood alcohol content.

“Miranda” Warning Irregularities

You’ve heard it on television a thousand times. Police officers must read or recite the warning if a person is placed into police custody and if the police intend to interrogate the person and use his or her answers against him. Sometimes, the Miranda warning is incomplete or missing altogether. A skilled attorney may be able to take advantage of the failure to provide the appropriate warning.

DWI Law is Complex; Defenses Are Often Technical

Being charged with any DWI offense in New York is a serious matter. The judge has the power to send a convicted DWI offender, even for a first offense, to jail. If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI offense, you owe it to yourself to retain the best legal team available. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the judgment and experience to negotiate the best possible plea and to negotiate for a conditional or hardship license, if you qualify. If the circumstances indicate you might have a technical defense to the charge, they can vigorously protect your rights.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy is one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Greater Capital Region. Our defense attorneys have been representing clients for more than 125 years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 730-4723 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

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