The holidays are always a time for peak DUI enforcement, as police take to the streets with the assumption that party goers will be driving under the influence. And, to a certain degree, the police are not wrong. The fact is, drunk driving is more common over the holidays, this is especially the case in years like this year, where Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on a Friday. However, just because you were arrested for a New York DWI does not mean that you will be found guilty. There are many defenses available in a DWI case; it’s just a matter of determining which one best fits your case.
One of the most successful defenses to a DWI case is a motion to suppress any evidence recovered as a result of an illegal stop. At almost every stage of a criminal investigation, police officers must possess some evidence that the person they are investigating committed a crime. For example, before a police officer can pull over a driver, they must have reasonable suspicion that the driver committed a crime or probable cause to believe they committed a traffic violation. In the context of a DWI, this is often some type of dangerous driving. Once a police officer pulls a driver over, however, they must respect the driver’s constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Thus, it is only if the officer develops probable cause that the driver was under the influence that they can arrest the driver for DWI. Some of the factors that police rely upon when making this determination include:
- Red or bloodshot eyes,
- Dangerous driving behavior indicative of impairment,
- The presence of alcohol in the car,
- The smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath,
- Statements made by the driver admitting alcohol consumption, and
- Slurred speech.
Absent one or more of these circumstances, police officers should not arrest a driver for DWI. If the driver is arrested, they may be able to argue a motion to suppress any evidence recovered as a result of the stop, including the officer’s observations of intoxication.
In the event that you were arrested at a DWI sobriety checkpoint, you may have additional defenses available to you. Specifically, while DWI checkpoints can be legally performed, the burden is on the prosecution to establish that the checkpoint met the necessary requirements. This includes proving that officers used some objective criteria to determine which drivers to stop and that officers gave notice to approaching motorists of the checkpoint.
Have You Been Arrested for DWI over the Holiday Season?
If you face DWI or DWAI charges in New York, reach out to the Law Offices of Mark. A Siesel for immediate assistance. Attorney Siesel and his team have decades of experience defending clients who have been arrested for all types of traffic violations, including drunk driving offenses. He can help you identify the best possible defense for your case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, you can reach the Law Offices of Mark A. Siesel at (914) 428-7386 or through our online form.