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Phillip J. Murphy Attorney at Law New City Criminal Defense Attorney
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New City DWI Attorney

Getting pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving can be a tense, frightening experience. Do you know your rights when pulled over? Below are some general guidelines regarding sobriety tests and chemical tests of your blood alcohol content, and other legal aspects of DWI/DUI. If you are arrested for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated in New York’s lower Hudson Valley or in Bergen County, New Jersey, call Phillip J. Murphy at 845-639-6600 for help. Our experienced New City DWI attorney can help you.

Do I have to take a breath test if I’m pulled over for DWI? What if I refuse?

Under state law, when you accepted your driver’s license you gave your implied consent to submit to a chemical test of your blood alcohol content when ordered to by the police. Although you cannot be forced to take a test against your will, there are automatic penalties if you refuse. In New York, you will be fined $500 and have your license suspended for one year. In New Jersey, your driver’s license is suspended for seven months for a first offense, and fines can range from $300 to $500.

Depending upon the circumstances, penalties for refusing a test may be more or less severe than if you were convicted for DWI or DUI. It is important to know, however, that just because you refuse a test, you can still be convicted for DUI/DWI, if the police have other evidence of impaired or intoxicated driving. Furthermore, the fact that you refused to take the test can be used as evidence against you, implying that you refused because you knew you had been drinking.

Regardless of whether you took the test and blew more than .08, or if you refused the test, call a New City DWI attorney to get the best possible outcome in your DUI/DWI arrest.

What if the police want me to get out of the car and walk a straight line to see if I am drunk?

Although the law requires you to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine when the police have cause to test you, you are not required to submit to certain so-called “field sobriety tests.” These are tests such as walking heel to toe, following a pen with your eyes, reciting the alphabet backwards, etc. Most of these tests are non-scientific and subjective; they are given by the police when they don’t have enough grounds to order a breathalyzer, in hopes that you will stumble and give them cause to require a chemical test. These tests are designed for you to fail, and you can lawfully refuse to submit to them without suffering negative consequences such as a loss of your license.

Is DWI a misdemeanor or a felony?

In New York DWI is a misdemeanor, and DWAI (driving while ability impaired = .05%-.08% BAC) is a traffic infraction, although there are ways in which DWAI can be moved up to a misdemeanor, and DWI can be charged as a felony. For instance, your second DWI arrest in ten years can be charged as a felony. Even for a first offense, you can be charged with Aggravated DWI (a felony) if you are stopped with a minor who is 15 years old or younger in the car.

A third offense DUI in Connecticut is charged as a felony. New Jersey and Pennsylvania do not have felony DUI/DWI laws, although if you injure or kill someone it is possible to be charged with crimes such as vehicular assault or manslaughter.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device, and when is it required?

An Ignition Interlock Device, or IID, is a device that is installed in your vehicle and requires you to blow into a meter before starting the car. If your blood alcohol content registers more than a minimal amount, such as .025% or .05%, then the vehicle won’t start.

An IID may be required by the judge for a first offense DUI/DWI, or in the case of probation or a conditional discharge. The IID may be required for anywhere from six months to one year. If required, it will be your obligation to have the device installed and maintained at your own expense. An IID is mandatory in certain circumstances as well, such as a second offense in New Jersey or Aggravated DWI in New York (Leandra’s Law).

Contact our New City, NY DWI attorney for more information and assistance with your case.

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