No matter what the circumstances, being arrested for DWI / DUI can be a stressful and upsetting experience. Perhaps you were stopped at a drunk driving checkpoint on your way home after a few drinks at an office party or at a restaurant. Or maybe you were involved in serious car accident that resulted in a DWI / DUI investigation.
Whatever the case may be, an arrest for drunk driving necessitates quick action in order to protect your rights and preserve your right to drive. You need an experienced New York DWI / DUI lawyer who appreciates the seriousness of your situation and will help you to navigate the system during this critical time.
In New York City, most people arrested for DWI / DUI are arraigned within approximately 24 hours of the arrest. In Westchester and Long Island, most people are given a summons to return to court for the arraignment within 30 days. At the arraignment you will be advised of your rights and asked to enter a plea.
You should not resolve the case at arraignment before you are fully informed about the impact of a guilty plea and have spoken with a knowledgeable DWI / DUI attorney. We understand the desire to put everything behind you as soon as possible, however, most cases do not go to jury trial and there are many reasons to fight your case. Some drivers fear that a DUI / DWI arrest means an automatic conviction, but that’s simply not true. It’s possible to fight and win a drunk driving case with the help of experienced legal counsel.
If someone you love has been arrested for drunk driving, the first matter of business may be to locate him or her in custody and pay the bond or bail for release. In order to locate someone in custody, make sure you have the person’s full name and birth date. If you can get it, the booking number (also known as the “book and case number”) is also very useful. There are also “collateral consequences” to a alcohol related driving conviction that can have impacts on your career and other parts of your life.
At arraignment, some drivers who are arrested for drunk driving are released without bail or on their own recognizance (“ROR”). However, where bail money is required, you must have cash or find a bail bond provider. Keep in mind that a bail bond firm will require a percentage of the bail amount up-front. If the arraignment is at night, the court requires cash. During the day, you pay bail by cash or credit card. Most NY DWI defendants are released ROR but you need to be aware that bail could be set and you will need to arrange for cash to be released if you have a night time arraignment, which is usually the case for DWI cases since most DWI arrests occur between midnight and 6am and the arrest to arraignment time frame is 18-24 hours later.
After release from custody, it is very important to hire an experienced New York DWI / DUI attorney if you have not done so already, who will be able to examine the legal issues involved in your specific case.
Handling your DMV Case
In addition to the criminal court case, a New York DWI / DUI arrest may also result in a New York DMV case. If you refused to take a breath test, a DMV hearing will be scheduled within 15 days of your arrest. You must be present at this hearing in order to protect your right to drive. If you had a valid license when you were arrested, and you took a breath test, you may be able to qualify for a conditional license 30 days after your arrest. For the best possible outcome, you need an experienced DWI / DUI attorney to represent you at your DMV hearing. Sometimes people do not realize that they have had a DMV hearing scheduled and will not appear. In that case, you have defaulted at the hearing and your license will be revoked. If this happens to you, we can seek to vacate the default and reschedule your refusal hearing.
Getting Your Car Back
As if two cases weren’t enough to deal with, if your car was seized upon your arrest, you may also have a civil proceeding called a forfeiture proceeding. Our lawyers and staff know the inner workings of the process involved in getting your car back and protecting your credit if you drive a leased vehicle.
We know the stakes are high. In order to have the best possible outcome for your DMV hearing, your criminal case, and your forfeiture proceeding, you need a lawyer with experience that you can count on.
Both the DMV hearing to determine driver’s license status and the criminal court case that stems from a drunk driving arrest can be successfully challenged, but these procedures can be complex, and the cost of losing can by high. That is why you need an experienced New York DUI / DWI criminal defense attorney that can develop an aggressive strategy to attack both the court case and the DMV refusal hearing.