richard a. portale, esq.
Senior Criminal Trial Counsel
(914) 772-3166
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You Got Arrested for New York City DWI | Attorney Westchester

Now What? 914-772-316

So, you had a few drinks and drove home.  Murphy’s law, you got stopped by the NYPD.  A few minutes later, you find yourself arrested and charged with a New York DWI (or DWAI DRUGS – if you were out late at a club like the Electric Room at the Dream Downtown or One Oak) . After submitting to a video-taped blood or breath test, you spent the better part of the next 24 hours sitting around the precinct, central booking and the NYC court system.  Your released, but what should you do now?

Well, first of all – if you had called us while you were still in – we could have reduced your wait to see a judge by up to 50%!  But, you didn’t, so whats next?  As New York City DWI attorneys, our job is to collect favorable evidence and to help you in an attempt to keep the DWI off your record and to save your driver’s license. Along those lines, you can take steps to help us build and prepare your defense. In the sections below, we discuss 10 of these steps and how they may help bolster your New York City DWI defense.

New York City DWI Attorney1. TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST AND WHO CARES ABOUT YOU – SOON AFTER THE DRUNK DRIVING ARREST

Contact a friend, acquaintance or family member as soon after the New York City DWI arrest as possible. Let them hear your voice, your speech and your thought process. Ideally, it’s best to call them from jail as soon as you get booked.

DON’T TALK TO POLICE!

Simply state, “Ya got nuttin’ on me, copper, see….”

OK – don’t say that or they may mistake you for a notorious gangster!  But, the point is – don’t talk to the police!

The DWI officers that arrest you will likely claim that your speech was “mumbled” and “slurred”, and that your thinking ability was “slow” and “confused.” But this may be an exaggeration stemming from the officers’ bias and their desire to build a case against you.
Your friends or family may have a very different impression. They may recall that you seemed alert and coherent and that your speech was completely normal. If so, they may become important witnesses as to your lack of alcohol impairment.
The less you speak to police, the smaller the sampling size they have and the more you speak to that loved one…well you see the point.

2. MAKE A MENTAL NOTE OF YOUR EATING AND DRINKING PRIOR TO ARREST AND TELL YOUR ATTORNEY

It’s going to be particularly important for you and your NYC DWI Attorney to put together a timeline of events as to what you ate and drank in the hours preceding the arrest. This itinerary aids your New York drunk driving case in a number of ways.
First, you may have still been absorbing the alcohol at the time of the traffic stop. If so, your BAC may have been considerably lower at the time of driving than when you later took the blood or breath test. With an accurate timeline of what you drank and when you drank it, our toxicologists can often extrapolate what your BAC would have been at the time of driving.

Second, your New York City DWI lawyer wants to know whether your alleged BAC “matches” the drinking pattern. Suppose you drank one martini and one glass of wine. Yet you “blow” a .13 on the Intoxilyzer 5000. There’s simply no way that such a small amount of alcohol could get you to such a high BAC level. In a case like this, we know something must have gone wrong with the breath testing process—and that the reading must be falsely high.

3. GIVE RECEIPTS FOR ALCOHOL & FOOD PURCHASES TO YOUR WESTCHESTER OR NYC CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

We want to establish an accurate itinerary of what, when and where you drank and ate prior to the NYC DWI arrest. But to prove it in court, we need as much documentation and corroboration as possible. One effective way to prove this is to save (or go back and get) receipts for any alcohol or food you purchased.

Credit card receipts or statements can be of some use. But the best is to get receipts from the establishment. These receipts should itemize what was purchased and when.

4. DISCUSS YOUR CASE WITH AN EXPERIENCED WESTCHESTER OR NEW YORK CITY DWI ATTORNEY

Defending a drunk driving case is complicated. You must know principles of chemistry (Beer-lambert Law), biology, alcohol physiology, the flaws of the breath machine and blood testing process, roadside police investigation procedures, New York DWI laws, and the bureaucracy of the local court system.
You would no more want to attempt this yourself than you would want to perform major surgery on yourself. It’s simply too important, there’s too much at stake, and the process is too difficult.

You should visit a NYC DWI lawyer as soon after the drunk driving arrest as possible. Right after the event, the details are still fresh in your mind and most of the potential evidence is still available. This is the point at which a New York DWI attorney can be most effective in helping you prepare the defense.

5. GET EVALUATED FOR GERD & OTHER STOMACH CONDITIONS

Suffering from GERD, acid reflux or heartburn may cause serious errors on DWI breath tests. The machine may give a falsely high reading, one that does not reflect your true blood alcohol level. If you took a breath test in connection with a New York drunk driving arrest, and you suffer from these conditions, be sure to discuss this fact with your New York City DWI attorney.

Many people suffer from GERD but have never been diagnosed or treated. Many sufferers don’t understand the consequences of the condition or the treatment options.
For our NYC DWI clients who experience symptoms of GERD but have never seen a doctor for it, we always recommend a medical evaluation. If we discover that you indeed have the condition, your doctor can prescribe treatment. Moreover, we may be able to use the issue on defending the drunk driving case.

6. SEE YOUR DENTIST

Dental conditions may also cause falsely high readings on the DWI breath test. Cavities, gingivitis, food impaction and dental pockets can all create a problem called “residual mouth alcohol” This contaminates the breath sample, leading to erroneously high readings. If you suspect you have any of these conditions, discuss it with your New York City DWI defense attorney. We will recommend a complete dental evaluation.

7. NOTATE ANY RECENT EXPOSURE TO CERTAIN CHEMICALS THAT MAY CONTAMINATE THE DWI BREATH TESTING PROCESS

Recent exposure to certain chemicals and industrial compounds may also contaminate the breath alcohol testing. This too can lead to errors and falsely high readings. Among the culprits are paints, paint removers, glues, cements, adhesives, varnishes and solvents. Once ingested, these substances can linger on your breath for days.
DWI breath machines can “mistake” these chemicals for alcohol, leading to high BAC readings for those who drank little or no spirits. NYC DWI suspects who work in construction or manufacturing should pay particular attention to this issue.

8. VISIT THE SCENE OF THE NYC DWI ARREST WITH YOUR WESTCHESTER OR NYC CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

Visiting the scene of the traffic stop cannot be overlooked. If your New York City DWI lawyer is worth anything, he/she will make a point to visit the scene before trial.  One of the most critical, yet often under-appreciated reasons for visiting the scene is the ability to become one with the scene.  I have never tried a case and failed to spend significant time at the scene.  When I visit the scene of any alleged crime, I immediately begin to visualize what happened and how.  Spacial relations, among other things, become very clear.  I take my own pictures, because police photographs are always taken through lens that is designed to convict you.  Take your NYC DWI case for example:   We want to pay special attention to the lighting and the surface conditions where you performed the field sobriety tests. Was the area poorly lit, on a grade or slope, uneven, slippery, wet, rocky, gravely or patchy? Adverse conditions can make it difficult for even the most sober person to perform these exercises.  But, do you think police took pics of the slanted roadway or knee-high grass that you were foced to deal with when you tried to walk a straight line or stand on one leg?

9. TALK TO ANY POTENTIAL “SOBRIETY WITNESSES”

If you had passengers in the car when you got stopped, or you were in company shortly before the DWI arrest, talk to these people right away. Ask them questions. Did I appear drunk to you? How was my driving? Was my speech slurred? Was I alert and coherent? Was there anything that suggested to you that I was intoxicated?

Your friends may say that you were alert, sharp, speaking and driving normally. If so, your New York DWI attorney will want to collect statements from these witnesses. We may even want them to testify later at a hearing or trial. They can help contradict the allegations made by the police that arrested  you that you appeared and acted in an intoxicated fashion.

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