Common mistakes for New York motorists charged with DWI

When motorists are pulled over by the police, they may not realize that some of the things they say or do can get them in a great deal of trouble. This not only applies to legal matters, such as an admission of guilt, but other factors they may not have considered. Here in New York, law enforcement considers driving while intoxicated to be a very serious offense. Those who are charged with DWI might make matters worse through some of their actions.

Some of the more well-known errors are still good to keep in mind. To go back to the admission of guilt, a person does not have to admit that he or she is intoxicated or answer questions. That, however, means staying silent and not speaking curtly or disrespectfully or not making jokes to officers, which are also mistakes. Having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle may compel officers to test a driver's blood alcohol level. 

Assuming that one knows more than a police officer when he or she does not have any formal legal training can be detrimental. This also ties in with those who may refuse to adhere to instructions at a DWI checkpoint -- as long as they are operating correctly, they are legal. If a suspect moves in a quick or sudden manner, it may lead an officer to think that he or she has a weapon, allowing them to search one's vehicle. Arguing that one's name is misspelled or that there is another insignificant error on a citation will not nullify the DWI charge. Also, consuming prescribed medication before driving can cause impairment, and the law does not make allowances just because a doctor prescribed the substance. 

Even if a person has made any of these mistakes, it is worth remembering that he or she is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a New York court of law. The individual accused has every right to present a defense against a DWI charge. It may still be the helpful for that person to seek advice, considering that a conviction can have drastic consequences, depending upon the severity of the evidence before the court.


Source: FindLaw Blotter, "10 Dumb DUI Mistakes You'll Want to Avoid", Brett Snider, Sept. 14 2014

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