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What Do I Need to Prove to Get My DWI Dismissed?

After an arrest for driving while intoxicated, your first thought may be, “How do I get out of this?” That will depend on your specific circumstances, which means it is hard to predict, as there are an endless number of ways you ended up in the situation that led to your charges. Although being charged with a DWI (“driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired”) can lead to severe consequences, it is also very much possible for your lawyer to get your charge dismissed. Keep reading to learn more about DWI charges and how these can be challenged. For top-quality legal assistance tailored to your case, contact a Rockland County DWI defense attorney today.

What Are the Elements of a New York DWI?

For the prosecution to have you convicted, they need to prove every element of a “driving while impaired/intoxicated” charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Your situation will definitely be unique, but the legal elements of the crime are the same from case to case.

Firstly, the prosecution will need to prove that the accused was operating a motor vehicle at the day and time the state alleges. Secondly, the prosecution will need to prove that the accused was intoxicated, or as good as intoxicated, while they were driving.

What Are the Penalties for a First-Time New York DWI?

Once convicted of a first-time DWI charge, you may face a fine of up to $2,500, revocation of your license for up to one year, and potentially even jail time for one year.

If these sound harsh, remember that subsequent DWIs carry far more serious penalties: the fines may be many more thousands of dollars’ worth, you may lose your driver’s license permanently, and you might even spend several years in jail.

Possible Strategies to Get Your DWI Dismissed

Not My Car

With this defense, your lawyer will argue that the state cannot prove you were the one driving the vehicle. By New York state legal definition, you must have the intention to move the car for the court to consider that you were “operating” it. Where you intended to warm up in heat or cool down in air conditioning, the state’s DWI accusation is false.

Not Operating On a Public Highway

Similarly, if your vehicle was being operated but not on a public highway, your charge may be dismissed or reduced. That said, the legal definition of a public highway in New York is very broad: “any highway, road, street, avenue, alley, public solace, public driveway, or any other public way.” This would even include parking lots with more than four spaces. But if it is the case you weren’t operating your vehicle on a public highway, then your lawyer should make that clear to the court.

Improper Procedure

Your DWI might also be dismissed if your lawyer can prove that the police who arrested didn’t conduct your breath test correctly. The police are required to watch you for 20 minutes before they take a breathalyzer test, to prevent you from belching or vomiting in your mouth. The police also need to check if you have substances like gum or chewing tobacco in your mouth, as these may cause a false positive.

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