New Windsor Criminal Law Blog
There are a variety of things that can lead a police officer to arrest someone for drunk driving. Sobriety tests, Breathalyzers and blood tests are commonly tied to such arrests. The United States Supreme Court recently clarified the role warrants will play going forward when it comes to obtaining a blood test. In an 8-to-1 decision, the court ruled that it will be necessary to secure a warrant to draw blood for such a test.
The case that prompted the decision was a situation in which man was pulled over by a police officer due to how he was handling his vehicle on the road. After the driver of the vehicle refused to take a Breathalyzer, he was transported to an area hospital where blood was drawn. The arresting officer did not obtain a warrant for the man's blood before the test was administered.
There are many things that may prompt law enforcement to arrest someone for driving while intoxicated. Anytime someone who has consumed alcohol is pulled over for a traffic stop it is possible that the stop for a minor infraction could lead to a DWI arrest. This was the case in the arrest of a Hudson Valley man last month.
The man was arrested and charged with aggravated DWI after being pulled over when he did not change to a different lane when his vehicle passed a disabled car on the side road that was being aided by a New York State Trooper. The failure to make such a maneuver with one's car, when possible, is a violation of the state's Move Over Law. After the man was pulled over a breath test was administered which indicated that his BAC was .18 percent.
Crimes are committed by individuals throughout the state of New York each day. Many of these crimes are premeditated or violent and are committed to benefit the person accused. Not all Hudson Valley residents facing criminal charges fit this description however. Unlike many other crimes, charges of driving while intoxicated often affect individuals who did not mean to do anything wrong.
This is likely the case for a woman who was recently arrested for DWI in Colonie. Her arrest was reportedly the result of an accident she was involved in outside of her apartment building. She apparently crashed her car into a tree. The woman has been charged with several crimes in addition to DWI including:
While many holidays lead to increased drunk driving enforcement, St. Patrick's Day is undoubtedly one of the biggest days for this. In an effort to reduce the number of serious accidents resulting in injury or deaths which occur due to drunk driving, this year the state of New York launched a statewide campaign which began on March 15 and ended March 18. The initiative was coordinated by New York State STOP-DWI and this year Orange County received additional funding for its enforcement.
Residents of the state of New York are likely aware of how seriously the state treats drunk driving offenses. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest it is possible that a drunk driver could spend a long period of time behind bars. This is particularly true when a drunk driver causes an accident that results in the death of another.
It is possible that the drunk driving laws of the state could become even more harsh. The state senate recently passed "Tiffany's Bill". The bill attempts to group all drunk driving incidents together. These would include not only DUIs for driving cars, but for operating other motor vehicles as well including snowmobiles, off-road equipment and boats.
In many drunk driving arrests breathalyzers play a large role in determining whether the person behind the wheel is too intoxicated to drive. When an individual blows into it, the level of alcohol in their blood stream is determined. When the BAC of a person who is of legal age to drink alcohol is above .08, police will arrest that person for drunk driving.
While to some, the reliance upon a machine to make the determination whether someone is too drunk to drive may seem foolproof, this is not the case. The machine, as is the case with all machines, can malfunction and may not provide accurate results.
Each day, throughout the Hudson Valley drivers are arrested for driving while intoxicated. While some of those drivers clearly have no business being behind the wheel of a vehicle, in many other cases it is not as clear. When someone has been arrested for drunk driving it is doubtful that they are concerned about this however. They are likely much more concerned about how the arrest will impact their life.
The consequences for a drunk driving conviction vary widely and can be serious depending on a variety of factors including how many times it has happened. In addition to losing one's license, consequences include, time in jail and fines that can be hefty. The failure to comply with those consequences can lead to additional consequences. Eleven New York residents became aware of this recently.
Criminal law is complex. Far beyond the stark labels of innocent and guilty, many criminal defendants learn that issues of process and procedure largely govern the functioning of the criminal justice system. For example, an individual is accused of driving under the influence (DUI). He knows that he had a few drinks earlier in the evening, yet he is almost certain that his blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08. After all, he only had a few beers and had them several hours ago.
Yet, when he is pulled over for a broken taillight, the officer at his door insists that he submits to breath tests and field sobriety tests. He passes everything but the breathalyzer, which registers in at .09. Is he guilty of drunk driving? At first glance, an observer would conclude that yes, he is guilty. However, breathalyzer tests are notoriously unreliable. And a case out of neighboring Pennsylvania illustrates that the man in this example may be guilty under the law or he may not be.
An accident in Queens caused a motorcyclist and his passenger to sustain serious injuries. The two were injured when an SUV failed to stop at a stop sign. The driver of the SUV was suspected of drinking and driving and was administered a breathalyzer test by the police. The test revealed he had a blood-alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and driving without insurance.
Possible DWI Penalties
Even a first time DWI can result in serious charges and the potential for high fines, loss of driving privileges and jail time. If the test reveals a blood alcohol content of .18 percent or higher, the charge is classified as aggravated driving while intoxicated and carries stiffer fines and a longer driver license suspension.
The wife of a hedge fund billionaire has made headlines for drunk driving over Labor Day weekend. When leaving an event in Southhampton, the socialite allegedly made a sharp turn in her Mercedes Benz, rear-ended another Mercedes and crashed into a parked Verizon van. According to a witness, she begged with the owner of the Mercedes and the Verizon employee not to call the police because her "husband would pay for everything."
One of the driver's ignored her pleas and called the police. At the police's first attempt at administering a breathalyzer test, the driver's hedgefund husband advised her to refuse the test. When the police indicated that they would have to arrest her if she didn't take it, he changed his mind and encouraged her to take it.
The Southampton Police Department stated: "Upon investigation it was determined that she was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs." She was arrested.