Receiving a citation in New York for driving under the influence of drugs is not necessarily the same thing as a citation for the same offense involving alcohol only. Alcohol is a substance that can be measured by blood alcohol concentration using legally accepted equipment to establish the assumption that the driver was legally intoxicated. Driving under the influence of drugs is not always discreetly determinable without the use of a blood analysis or chemical test, and often the only evidence used can amount to officer testimony. This situation means that an experienced criminal defense attorney can conduct an investigation on your behalf inspecting the applied evidence and build a counter argument for presentation to the court that could result in a dismissal or reduction in the level of the charge.
Difference Between DUI and DWAI
There is a significant difference in the way New York prosecutes impaired drivers from other states. A DWAI conviction is not a criminal issue unless there are extenuating circumstances that could result in additional charges. DUI charges are applied when the blood alcohol concentration level is .08 or above and counts as a criminal conviction as well as a prior conviction if subsequent charges occur, which could actually result in Class E felony charges based on case evidence. Many times DWAI cases also involve a combination of chemicals in the system, which is designated by the state as a DWAI/Combination, and often the level of alcohol in the system is less than .08. This situation can give your criminal defense attorney significant leverage when negotiating a charge reduction or dismissal. The distinction that a DWAI is a traffic infraction is a very serious issue for those wanting to avoid a criminal record.
Inspecting the Evidence
When you choose our law firm to represent your case our first step will be to investigate the arrest record and police report for errors in search protocol. Even when an officer has stated they found evidence of drug impairment such as controlled substances, that is not necessarily proof that you were impaired at the time of arrest. In addition, while legal prescriptions are not a defense to potentially driving under the influence, they can be an acceptable indication that drug concentrations in your system were latent at the time of the arrest. This is especially true in cases involving medical marijuana patients. Evidence that has been acquired through unreasonable searches can also be dismissed when the arresting officer did not follow proper search procedures or arrest protocol. When the amount of evidence is reduced to only officer testimony, then we can focus on the fact that there is no real substantial evidence when negotiating a charge reduction or case dismissal.
Taking the Case to Trial
Our firm is always ready to take a case to a full trial when it is apparent that any level of reasonable doubt exists in a DWAI prosecution, even when it is not considered a criminal issue. Prosecutors rarely are willing to take a simple case of DWAI to trial because of case load and the potential for an outright acquittal. Regardless of whether a case actually is acquitted or charges are dropped, we can then work towards having all arrest records expunged as though the incident never happened. While DWAI/Drugs cases are restricted with respect to the prosecutor’s latitude to reduce charges, it is still important to keep your case in the traffic infraction class at least because it does not generate a criminal record and is not counted toward subsequent citations for driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
Anyone in New York who is facing a charge for DUI of Drugs at any level should contact our offices and let us do a full investigation into your case for dismissal or reduction potential. Let us put our 30 years of experience to work for you.