DUI/DWI Attorney

a drink with car keys

Whether you are under the influence or not, seeing the flashing red lights in the rear view mirror is something no motorist wants to see. If those lights ultimately lead to an arrest for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, DWI, you face serious consequences and penalties if convicted. A conviction for DWI can have a dramatic impact on every aspect of your life including your home, work, and even social life. If you have been charged with DWI, or another alcohol or drug related driving offense, you need an experienced, aggressive and committed DWI defense attorney on your side to protect your rights, prepare your defense, and limit the negative impact the arrest has on your life.

At the Law Offices of Adam M. Thompson, P.C., we provide individuals who have been charged with DWI in New York City with exceptional legal representation based on over two decades of experience defending those accused of a criminal offense. We also proudly represent clients throughout the State of New York, as well as New Jersey.

We have successfully defended thousands of people charged with serious crimes with outstanding results. Our DWI cases often result in the complete dismissal of all charges or reductions in the charges to lower offenses, many times resulting in a plea bargain with no criminal record. In fact, we have not lost a DWI trial in 20 years. Every client has either been acquitted or had their charges reduced. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with DWI, get help now and contact the Law Offices of Adam M. Thompson, P.C. by calling (212) 267-2424, or filling out our online contact form. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day seven days a week to ensure that you can reach us when you need us.

Driving While Intoxicated Laws

In both New York and New Jersey, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher for most drivers. It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle while "intoxicated," meaning that it is not essential to have a BAC of over 0.08 to be convicted of DWI.

For certain drivers, the BAC level is lower. Drivers under the age of 21, for example, are subject to New York's Zero Tolerance law. The Zero Tolerance law applies to motorists under the age of 21 who have a BAC of 0.02 percent or more.

If a driver under the age of 21 has a BAC of 0.02 percent or more, but not more than 0.07 percent, the driver will be charged with the traffic offense of "driving after having consumed alcohol".

If an underage driver has a BAC that is more than 0.05 percent but not more than 0.07 percent, the police will have the option of charging the individual with "driving while ability is impaired by alcohol" (DWAI).

If a driver under the age of 21 has a BAC of more than 0.07 percent but less than 0.08 percent the driver will be charged with the offense of "driving while ability is impaired by alcohol" (DWAI), and for those with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more, the charge will be "driving while intoxicated" (DWI).

For a driver who holds a commercial driver's license, or CDL, the BAC threshold is also lower. A motorist holding a CDL can be charged and convicted of DWI with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher.

If convicted of DWI a driver faces a number of potential judicial and non-judicial penalties, including:

If convicted of DWI a driver faces a number of potential judicial and non-judicial penalties, including:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • $500 – $1000 fine
  • License suspension or revocation for at least six months

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (A-DWI)

  • Up to one year in jail
  • $1,000 – $1500 fine
  • License revocation of at least one year

Second A-DWI in 10 years (E felony)

  • Up to four years in prison
  • $1,000 – $5,000 fine
  • License revocation of at least 18 months

Third A-DWI in 10 years (D felony)

  • Up to seven years in prison
  • $2,000 – $10,000 fine
  • License revocation of at least 18 months

Second DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (E felony)

  • Up to four years in prison
  • $1,000 – $5,000 fine
  • License revocation of at least one year

Third DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (D felony)

  • Up to seven years in prison
  • $2,000 to $10,000 fine
  • License revoked for at least one year

Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Alcohol/Drugs (DWAI-Combination)

  • Up to a year in jail
  • $500 – $1,000 fine
  • License revoked for at least one month

Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI)

  • Up to 15 days in jail
  • $300 – $500 fine
  • License suspension of 90 days

Zero Tolerance Law

  • No jail time
  • $125 civil penalty and $100 to terminate suspension
  • License suspension for six months

Second Zero Tolerance Law

  • No jail time
  • $125 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee
  • License revoked for one year or until age 21

Chemical Test Refusal

  • No jail time
  • $500 civil penalty ($550 for commercial drivers)
  • License revoked for at least one year – 18 months for commercial drivers

Chemical Test Refusal within five years of a previous DWI-related charge/Chemical Test Refusal

  • No jail time
  • $750 civil penalty
  • Revoked for at least 18 months, one year or until age 21 for drivers under age 21, permanent CDL revocation for commercial drivers

Test Refusal – Zero Tolerance Law

  • No jail time
  • $300 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee
  • License revoked for at least one year

Chemical Test Refusal – Second or Subsequent Zero Tolerance Law

  • No jail time
  • $750 civil penalty plus $100 re-application fee
  • License revocation of at least one year

In addition to the above penalties, you could also face additional consequences and penalties for an alcohol related driving conviction, including:

  1. Installation of an ignition interlock system
  2. Alcohol and/or drug counseling or education
  3. Increased insurance rates
  4. Loss of employment or employment opportunities
  5. Disciplinary action for a professional license
  6. Impact on custody and/or visitation with minor children

The penalties you actually face will depend on what charges are filed against you. The charges, in turn, will depend on factors such as:

  1. Your previous history of DWI convictions (or lack thereof)
  2. What your BAC level was if you took a chemical test
  3. Whether you refused the chemical test (Breathalyzer)
  4. Whether you were involved in an accident that caused injuries
  5. Your age at the time of your arrest

Defenses to a DWI Charge

Although being arrested and charged with DWI is certainly a frightening experience, remember that being charged is not the same as being convicted. Each DWI arrest occurs under a unique set of facts and circumstances, meaning that no two cases will employ the exact same defense. There are, however, some common defenses to driving while intoxicated, including:

  • Challenging the stop – an officer must have a valid, legal reason to conduct the stop in the first place. If he/she did not, the entire case may fall apart for the prosecution.
  • Challenging the test results – despite what many people are led to believe, chemical tests are far from perfect.  Even when administered properly with a properly calibrated machine the results can still be less than 100 percent accurate.
  • Suppression of evidence – if the police conducted an illegal search, questioned you without the right to do so, or did anything else illegal during the investigation stage you may be able to suppress any evidence encountered after the illegal conduct.
  • Police officer is making up the chargesmany times during a routine traffic stop the driver and officer will have an unpleasant verbal exchange. The officer, wanting to demonstrate his control and power, may go too far and improperly ask the driver to get out of the car claiming "I think I smell alcohol on your breath."  Quite often, DWI charges are brought without merit based on such a situation. In those same situations, the driver will often refuse to take any breath test out of anger and fear the police officer will make up or "fix" the test and lie about the actual results. This happens more often than you think. If this happens to you, be sure to document everything you can as to what actually took place and get witnesses to the encounter with the officer. In many instances, you can request a copy of the police car video which sometimes not only will show the video of the actual stop but audio as well. If the State fails to produce this tape, you can argue it was purposefully destroyed to cover up the improper stop.

If you are facing driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence charges in New York City, or anywhere in New York State or New Jersey, you need the experience and dedication offered by the Law Offices of Adam M. Thompson, P.C. Contact our office now by calling (212) 267-2424 or by filling out our online contact form for your free consultation.