In the state of New York, motorists accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may face serious fines and penalties if convicted. This is especially true if a driver has been previously convicted of multiple offenses or if a DUI charge involves an accident in which other people were killed or injured. However, depending on the circumstances, a number of defense strategies are available to those who decide to contest the validity of drunk driving charges.
The most frequent DUI defense options typically involve an attorney challenging the legality of a police officer's decision to initially stop, and ultimately arrest, a driver based on his or her observations. According to the law, police officers must first have a reasonable suspicion that a driver may have committed a crime in order to justify making an initial traffic stop for any reason. Once a traffic stop is made, the officer must then possess sufficient probable cause to support their belief that an individual has actually committed a crime in order to justify making an arrest. In a DUI case, a criminal defense attorney may be able to dispute the accuracy or reliability of the prosecution's evidence by questioning the way officers conducted field sobriety tests, Breathalyzer tests and blood tests to determine the driver's blood alcohol concentration level while actually driving the vehicle.
Additionally, in certain isolated cases, DUI charges may be dismissed if a driver can demonstrate how their unlawful actions were the direct result of exceptional medical or environmental circumstances that were entirely beyond their control. Drunk driving charges may also be dismissed if a defendant can present compelling evidence or testimony that officers acted unlawfully or that their civil rights were violated during the arrest or investigation.
In some drunk driving cases, an attorney may be able to assist those accused of DUI in gathering and presenting the evidence necessary to contest or reduce the charges brought against them. As a result, a driver accused of DUI might be able to avoid some of the heavy fines and penalties associated with a DUI conviction.