Most DWI arrests usually begin with a traffic stop when an officer strongly believes that a driver has committed an infraction or a crime. Some typical road infractions include speeding, tailgating, driving erratically, or running a stop sign or red light. After the officer pulls a vehicle over due to irregular driving behaviors, they will ask the driver questions.
If the officer suspects a driver of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, they will conduct a blood alcohol concentration test (BAC) using a portable breathalyzer or field sobriety test. If the results indicate that the driver has committed any of New York’s alcohol and drug-related offenses, including DWI, the traffic officer can arrest the driver. Continue reading to learn what happens after being arrested for a DWI offense in New York.
If a driver is arrested for a DWI offense, they are taken into custody while the traffic officer prepares their police report. They will also be required to take a chemical test involving a sample of your saliva, breath, urine, and blood. According to New York’s implied consent laws, motorists in the state lawfully arrested for DWI must submit to the chemical test if asked to do so by an officer.
There are consequences for violating implied consent laws, including license suspensions or hefty fines depending on the offender’s age and whether or not the defendant is a first-time offender. Once the officer has finalized all the essential paperwork, they will set a bail amount the offender must pay to be released. Alternatively, the accused driver may be arraigned, typically after 24 hours. Arraignment involves a court hearing where bail is set, and the accused driver pleads either guilty or not guilty.
Pre-trial conference and pre-trial hearings
During a pre-trial conference, an attorney for the defendant tries to negotiate a plea bargain, indicating that the client will plead guilty in exchange for lighter penalties. If the no plea bargain deal is reached during the pre-trial conference, the case goes through several pre-trial hearings before the actual trial.
A court trial occurs when the accused is unable to reach a plea bargain and pleads not guilty. There are two types of DWI trials: a bench trial and a jury trial. In a bench trial, the jury is absent, and the judge presides over the cases and makes the final ruling as to whether the defendant is guilty. A jury trial is composed of 12 jurors who help determine whether the accused is guilty.
Drivers found guilty of DWI offenses after pleading not guilty during the trial receive their penalty at a sentencing hearing. The penalties for DWI charges in New York vary depending on the violation and whether the accused is a first or multiple-time offender. The penalties include hefty fines that may exceed $1,000 and a driver’s license suspension of not less than half a year.