DWI case concerning breath tests before New York Court of Appeals
Drivers arrested for DWI in New York are required to submit to a blood, breath or chemical test under the state's implied consent laws. Those who refuse the test will automatically receive a suspension of their driver's license.
Many motorists arrested for DWI are unsure whether or not they should take the test. They are concerned about the impact that this could have on their case if the results show they have a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. There is a case being heard in the New York Court of Appeals that may have an impact upon the administration of these tests in certain situations.
In this particular case, a motorist was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of a pedestrian. Police on the scene suspected the motorist of being impaired, and she was arrested. The woman's family was notified, and they hired an attorney for her. While this was happening, the woman was asked if she would submit to a breath test, and she agreed.
One minute after the motorist agreed to this test, her attorney called the station. The attorney directed the officers to stop all questioning and testing being performed, but, this information was not relayed to the motorist. Nearly ten minutes later, the test was administered.
The woman challenged the actions of law enforcement, and lower courts agreed with her assertion that she should have been informed of her lawyer's advice. The earlier decision stated that the police had not demonstrated why the procedures should have been allowed to continue after the attorney spoke to the officers.
The prosecution is contending that the woman gave her consent, and that she failed to revoke it despite an opportunity to stop the procedure from going forward. They also believe that the time period between these accidents and the tests forces them to act quickly to preserve evidence in DWI cases. A ruling is expecting sometime in May.
In addition to this case, there is pending legislation that could require motorists to subject to blood or breath tests in these types of cases. If the new bill passes, these tests would be mandatory in cases where sufficient injuries or death result after a crash caused by a motorist believed to be under the influence. This could lead to very serious charges for these individuals, and may make it tough to defend themselves against the accusations.
If you have been charged with a DWI-related offense, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. New York is constantly making its DWI penalties more severe, and each conviction that you receive could lead to much stronger punishments.
Before you plead guilty, you need to know what you can do to offer a strong defense to these accusations. It is extremely important to examine the actions of law enforcement officers at the scene to determine if they violated your constitutional rights in any way. Once you know more about your options, you can focus on making the best decision for your future.