A STOP-DWI checkpoint.

New York Enforcement Crackdown on Holiday DWI

New York has been cracking down on incidences of people driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The State of New York even has a program, referred to as STOP-DWI, which focuses on launching initiatives to reduce DWI cases. STOP-DWI stands for “Special Traffic Operations Program for Driving While Impaired” and it has been behind efforts such as coordinating with state law enforcement agencies to round up those who are behind the wheel while intoxicated. Recently, the focus of these efforts has been cracking down on DWI occurrences during the holidays, which are notorious times where DWI’s tend to increase. As such, law enforcement steps up patrols to keep roads safe.

Governor Cuomo announced this past November that the New York State Police, as well as local law enforcement agencies, would participate in a “special traffic enforcement initiative” geared towards curbing unsafe driving, such as driving while intoxicated. The same initiative in the previous year resulted in the issuance of 15,100 tickets and 215 DWI arrests statewide. 

The STOP-DWI Program

The STOP-DWI program has taken on the coordination of local efforts between various agencies, such as those of law enforcement, state prosecutors, and other administrative agencies, to launch highly publicized efforts to reduce the number of drunk and impaired drivers on New York roads. These coordinated efforts have led to sobriety checkpoints and patrols that are focused on catching those driving while intoxicated.

New York State STOP-DWI Enforcement Crackdowns were scheduled from December 11 to January 1, and some have also been scheduled during Super Bowl weekend. These enforcement campaigns have led to thousands of arrests and hundreds of thousands of tickets for traffic violations. In fact, the 2018 enforcement campaign resulted in the arrests of 4,142 people for driving while impaired and the issuance of 144,197 for other assorted traffic law violations.

Penalties for DWI and DWAI Charges in New York

New York has serious penalties for those found guilty of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is important to be aware of the fact that New York has a Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) offense, a traffic violation, and multiple Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offenses, all criminal, which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on factors. DWAI occurs if the driver is impaired by alcohol, but has a blood alcohol content below the .08 legal limit. A DWI occurs if the driver’s blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. 

DWI and DWAI offenses have penalties that include fines and jail time, but DWI is considered a more serious offense. If convicted of a first offense DWAI, the penalty may include a fine between $300 to $500, jail time of up to 15 days, and a driver’s license suspension up to 90 days. If convicted of DWI for the first time, the penalty may include a fine between $500 and $1,000, up to one year of jail time, and a minimum license revocation period of six months. Additional requirements/conditions may include the installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle (or the family of a person convicted of DWI), alcohol monitoring by a SCRAM ankle bracelet or Remote Breath monitor, as well as court-monitored treatment programs. Convictions for DWI and DWAI in New York State require attendance at both the Victim’s Impact Panel (VIP program) as well as the Impaired Driver Program (IDP). 

DWI Defense Attorneys

If you are found driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the DWAI and DWI defense attorneys at Heiferman & Associates are here to fight for you. We mount the strongest possible defense for our clients while providing them with an accurate assessment of their case based on the facts.  Contact us today.

Posted in DWI
Heiferman & Associates, PLLC gives an overview of what is involved in New York field sobriety tests.

Field Sobriety Tests

New York saw 5,857 people injured in alcohol-related crashes in 2016 alone. Needless to say, the state takes Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) cases very seriously and the sentence for those convicted often reflects this. If you are facing a DWI charge, you may have been subjected to a standardized DWI field sobriety test. These tests were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) back in the 1970s and are used to help law enforcement determine whether a driver has been operating his or her vehicle while intoxicated.

What Are the Standardized DWI Field Sobriety Tests in New York?

There are three separate standardized field sobriety tests (SFST’s) that are used in New York. Law enforcement officers are required to participate in 24 hours of training prior to becoming certified to perform standardized field sobriety tests during stops that have occurred due to DWI suspicion. The three tests are:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
  • Walk and turn
  • One-leg stand

With the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the police officer observes the eye reactions of the suspect. Nystagmus refers to the involuntary rapid movement and/or jerking of a person’s eye does when subject to a stimulus. The jerking is likely to increase when there is alcohol present in an individual’s bloodstream. The suspect will be directed to remove their glasses if wearing them, feet together, hands at sides, and keep the head still while looking at and tracking a stimulus with the eyes only. Usually, a finger or a pen is used as the stimulus and is kept approximately 12 inches from the person’s nose. The person must follow the finger or pen’s movements with the eyes only; no turning of the head. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is said to be the most reliable of the standardized DWI field sobriety tests. It is important when building a defense, to note that some people have natural eye nystagmus when sober. 

The walk and turn tests require the test subject to take 9 heel-to-toe steps across a line in one direction and back. The person should be instructed to keep his or her eyes on the feet and count each step out loud. Arms should be kept at the sides. The police officer will look to see if the person is having difficulty staying balanced or following any of the instructions as an indication that the individual is, in fact, intoxicated.

With the one-leg stand test, the person will lift one leg slightly off the ground, about six inches, and stand on the other leg. The raised foot should be pointed out and both legs should be straight with the individual looking down at the raised foot. The officer will be looking for several things that may indicate the individual is intoxicated. The person may be swaying while trying to balance. He or she may be using arms to balance or need to put the foot down. Hopping is also a potential indication of intoxication.

Trust DWI Defense Counsel

The accuracy of field sobriety tests can be challenged on many levels as can other evidence that may have been gathered in order to charge and convict you of a DWI. Heiferman & Associates is here to challenge this evidence and work to prevent a DWI charge from becoming a DWI conviction. Contact us today.

Posted in DWI
Heiferman & Associates PLLC explains DWI/DWAI penalties in New York.

An Overview of DWI/DWAI Penalties in New York

New York takes driving while intoxicated (also known as DWI in New York, driving under the influence or DUI in some states) and DWAI charges seriously. In addition to the penalties discussed below, a DWI (DUI) or DWAI conviction can haunt you for life. Therefore, if you’ve been charged with a DWI or DWAI in New York, you should immediately contact an experienced New York criminal defense attorney for assistance.  

New York DWI Penalties

In New York, operating a vehicle while having a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) level of between .08 percent and above can result in a DWI charge. A DWI charge in New York can result in the following penalties:

  • A first DWI conviction is a misdemeanor and can/will result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1000, installation of an ignition interlock device and license revocation of at least six months. 
  • A second DWI conviction within 10 years of the initial conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to four years, a fine of up to $5,000, installation of an ignition interlock device, and license revocation of at least one year. 
  • A third DWI conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to seven years, a fine of up to $10,000, installation of an ignition interlock device, and license revocation of at least one year with the possibility of permanent revocation. 

New York Aggravated DWI Penalties

In New York, if a driver’s BAC is .18 percent or higher, the resulting charge is called aggravated DWI. The penalties for aggravated DWI are similar to the penalties for DWI. The primary difference is the length of license revocation. Specifically, an initial aggravated DWI in New York can result in a license revocation of one year. A second and third aggravated DWI can result in a minimum revocation of 18 months. And if the third offense occurs within 10 years of the previous offenses, the offender faces permanent revocation of his or her license.

DWAI Penalties

A related crime in New York is called driving while ability impaired by alcohol (“DWAI”). If a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol but his or her BAC is below .08 percent, he or she may be charged with DWAI. DWAI is penalized as follows:

  • A first DWAI is a traffic infraction and can result in a fine of up to $500, up to 15 days in jail, and a 90-day license suspension.
  • A second DWAI is a traffic infraction and can result in a fine of up to $750, a 30-day jail sentence, and a six-month license revocation.
  • A third DWAI within 10 years of a previous violation is a misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $1,500, up to 180 days in jail, and one-year license revocation.

Contact Our New York DWI/DWAI Attorneys  

As you can see, DWI and DWAI are serious offenses in New York, and a conviction can result in severe penalties, including fines, license suspension, and potential jail time. Therefore, if you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, it is imperative that you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. Located in Flushing, Queens, the DWI attorneys (DUI attorneys) at Heiferman and Associates, PLLC, routinely represent clients facing DWI and DWAI charges throughout the greater New York Metro area, including New York City/Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island (Nassau/Suffolk counties). Whether you are a first offender or have prior convictions, our experienced attorneys will provide you with aggressive and efficient legal representation and work tirelessly to protect your rights. Please contact us today for a consultation. 

Posted in DWI