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Rochester Criminal Defense Attorney Manages DWI & DWAI Charges

Compassionate representation to protect your rights and your license

Human mistakes can have lasting consequences. If you’ve been arrested for DWI or DWAI in Rochester, you can expect aggressive prosecution and potentially very harsh penalties. At the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C., we work to protect our clients from erroneous and excessive charges, zealous prosecutions and extreme sentencing. We challenge the authorities to prove every element of their case beyond a reasonable doubt while working tirelessly for a favorable resolution to the charges against you.

Understanding New York’s drunk driving charges

New York State has several ways of charging drunk driving based on the specific circumstances of the case. These include:

  • DWI — The charge of driving while intoxicated arises when a driver tests positive for alcohol use with blood alcohol content of .08 percent and above. BAC in excess of .18 leads to an aggravated charge. For a commercial driver, the legal limit is .04 percent. Other evidence of intoxication is also admissible.
  • DWAI — Driving while ability Impaired is charged when a driver has a BAC between .05 and .07 percent or is drug-impaired but is still unable to operate the vehicle safely.
  • Zero tolerance violation — Drivers under the age of 21 who test positive for alcohol with a BAC of .02 (the lowest amount measurable) to .07 are subject to fines and license suspension.
  • DUI — New York drivers who are convicted of DUI in another state are subject to revocation of their New York driver licenses.
  • Chemical test refusal — Drivers who are arrested for DWI or DWAI are required to submit to a chemical test of breath, blood or urine. Refusal triggers an administrative license revocation.

Do not treat a DWI or DWAI charge as just another traffic offense. Effective defenses are often available, as are strategies for mitigating the consequences of your arrest, depending on the facts of your case.

Penalties for impaired driving in New York

Penalties for DWI or DWAI vary depending on such circumstances as having prior impaired driving convictions. Possible penalties include:

  • DWI (alcohol or drugs) — For a first conviction, a fine of $500 to $1,000, a maximum of one year in jail, license revocation for at least six months and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • DWAI (alcohol) — For a first conviction, a fine of $300 to $500, a maximum of 15 days in jail and license suspended for 90 days. Stiffer penalties apply to a second DWAI within five years or a third or subsequent DWAI within 10 years.
  • DWAI (combination of drugs and alcohol) — For a first conviction, a fine of $500 to $1,000, maximum jail time of one year, license revocation for at least six months.
  • Felony offenses — A second DWI or DWAI drug violation within 10 years is a Class E felony punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, a maximum of four years in state prison and a license revocation of at least one year. A third DWI or DWAI drug violation within 10 years is a Class D felony carrying higher fines and longer jail terms.

If impaired driving has led to an accident in which a person was injured or killed, the consequences are even greater.

Defending against DWI/DWAI charges in New York

There are a number of ways to contest a citation for drunk or drug-impaired driving, relating to:

  • Legality of the initial traffic stop — Police must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion to pull a vehicle over, such as a traffic violation or sustained erratic driving. A single swerve is usually not enough.
  • Probable cause to test — Once a vehicle is stopped, there must be probable cause to subject the driver to a field sobriety test or to a breath or chemical test. This includes observing slurred speech, smelling alcohol on the breath or noticing evidence of alcohol or drug consumption in the vehicle.
  • Validity of testing procedures — Breathalyzer and blood tests may be challenged on the grounds of improper calibration of the device, error on the part of the operator, extended delay between the arrest and the test and the chain of custody of the sample drawn.

Another basis for contesting drunk or impaired driving charges is the failure or refusal of the arresting officer to allow you to exercise your right to consult with counsel before being questioned or tested. We investigate all aspects of your arrest to determine the challenges that can be asserted.

Contact a dedicated criminal defense lawyer for DWI or DWAI charges in Rochester

A conviction for impaired driving can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Trust the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. to work tirelessly for a favorable outcome to your case. Call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online to receive a free 30-minute initial consultation.


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