The risk of steep financial penalties, points on driving records, time in jail and more make working with an attorney after a DWI arrest a wise choice.
Drivers in New York have faced a lot of crackdowns in recent years, largely due to the Mayor's Vision Zero plan. While the goal of keeping people safe is a good one, it is equally important to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. There are many reasons that make getting proper legal help after being arrested for an impaired driving offense in New York important.
New York's laws on drunk and drugged driving can see drivers experience very harsh consequences if convicted of impaired driving offenses. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that a first drunk driving conviction can result in a jail sentence as long as one year, loss of driving privileges for at least six months, and fines up to $1,000.
A driver does not even need to be convicted of a DWI to incur consequences. Refusing to take a chemical test can result in a one-year driver's license revocation and a $500 fine.
In addition, a conviction for a DWI, DWAI or other related offense can add points to a driver's record.
There can be several reasons that a person who is arrested for drunk driving is able to be deemed innocent. Some of these reasons may be rare but are nonetheless important reasons to get proper help. A good example of this is the recent case in which a New York woman was found to have a medical condition that caused her body to metabolize starches into ethanol.
Immortal.org explains that the woman was arrested after tests showed her to have a blood alcohol content of 0.40 percent. Such a level could actually cause a person to go into a coma or even die yet she was actually functional. Fortunately, her attorney pursued the matter and additional tests showed she had what is called gut-fermentation syndrome.
Law enforcement and government actions
CBS News reported in early 2015 that the city was considering punishing some officers because there had been too few arrests made, including DWI arrests. A couple of months later, the Daily Gazette reported that the state as a whole had seen a drop in DWI arrests. The one exception this time was among drivers 50 years of age or older. For these drivers, DWI arrests had actually increased between 2005 and 2014.
Records from the Division of Criminal Justice Services notes that in all five New York City boroughs in 2014, 933 people were arrested on felony DWI charges. Another 8,571 people were arrested on misdemeanor DWI charges. Even with a drop in these arrests, clearly many people still face these serious charges.
Prompt help matters
With so much on the line, drivers should not wait to find an attorney after a DWI arrest. This should be made a priority in all such cases.