An arrest for a DWI can be a frightening and stressful experience, not matter if it is your first time or fourth. Many people believe they understand the ins and outs of DWIs in New York; however, most of these “facts” are simply just myths.
The following are the common misconceptions about New York DWIs:
- If I refuse the breathalyzer test, there will be no evidence against me. This is considered one of the biggest DWI myths. However, it is partially true. While it is legal for a person to refuse a preliminary breathalyzer test, a police officer’s opinion is also enough sufficient evidence for a DWI conviction. The arresting officer will still tell the judge and the court his opinion about how the vehicle was operated and the way the suspect appeared, such as having red eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of alcohol at the time of the arrest.
- I can’t be charged with a DWI if I was under the influence of prescription medication. According to New York State law, an individual cannot operate a motor vehicle if his ability to do so is impaired by a substance, such as alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescribed medicine. While prescription drugs are legal, they often have some sort of warning against operating heavy machinery or a vehicle.
- I passed my field sobriety test, so I should win my case. Many people who believe they performed well on their field sobriety test when, in fact, they demonstrated multiple signs of intoxication. The truth is that these tests are designed for people to fail and for law enforcement to gather evidence against you. It is legal to refuse a field sobriety test in New York.
- I wasn’t read my Miranda Rights, so my case should be dismissed. Most people get this idea from movies and television. However, Miranda Rights only need to be read if the police officer plans on interrogating and questioning someone after an arrest. In New York, the questions which are asked when someone is pulled over for a DWI are only investigatory, not an interrogation.
- I’m not an alcoholic or a drug addict, so the court will take it easy on me. The truth is that most people who are pulled over for driving under the influence are not alcoholics and drug users. DWIs can happen to anyone, so just because a person looks like a great citizen doesn’t mean the court’s decision will be influenced by that fact.
- I should hire a lawyer who is cheap or a friend who is familiar with the law. The familiar phrase of “you get what you pay for” rings true in these situations. If you want an attorney who is committed to protecting your rights, looking for all available legal options, and fighting tirelessly for the most favorable result possible, you need to pay for that. While your friend may have the best intentions, if they are not a DWI defense lawyer, do not depend on their help or advice.
- I can get an expungement for my DWI conviction. In New York, there is no expungement statute, which means that his charge will be forever on your criminal record.