If you’ve been charged with driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you’ve probably gone through a number of different feelings already. You’re scared, you’re nervous and you’re unsure of what the future holds. Most of all, you probably have a lot of questions. Here, we’d like to take some time and help answer the most common questions when it comes to these types of charges.
Will I Lose My Driving Privileges?
This is one of the most common questions asked by clients, and it’s a legitimate question. And while the question is common, the answer is not. It truly depends on the circumstances of your case and what you’re being charged with overall. Most charges involving drinking and driving result in some type of license suspension which can range from 90 days to a permanent revocation.
Generally, when you hire a defense attorney, the attorney will negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor that will include a shortened license suspension. Again, each circumstance is different and there’s never a guarantee.
Will I be Incarcerated?
Again, this is going to depend on your situation and many factors, including the charges you’re facing and any prior convictions you have.
It’s possible you will face jail time if this is your first offense. When you retain an attorney who is experienced in this type of defense, it will help reduce the risk of you going to jail.
Is This Charge a Felony?
Not all charges are considered a felony, and again this will depend on the factors and circumstances surrounding your arrest. This is also an instance where your prior charges and background will come into play. It’s always best to sit down with an attorney to have a better understanding of what your charge entails. It’s important to note that if you are convicted of a felony, you’ll most likely face a very lengthy prison sentence and other serious consequences that can have a significant effect on your future.
Can I Refuse a Chemical and/or Breathalyzer Test?
There is an implied consent law in New York state that means by driving on the roads in New York, you agree to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content if you’are asked by a police officer to do so.
That said, the police officer can not physically force you to do so.
Note, however, that there are penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test, including a $500 (or more) fine and a mandatory one-year suspension of your driver’s license. If you’re a commercial truck driver, the penalties for refusal to submit to a chemical test include a $550 fine and a mandatory 18-month license suspension.
If you’ve refused a chemical test or you were charged with a DWI within the past five years, you could face penalties of an 18-month mandatory license suspension and a $750 fine. If you’re a truck driver who has a DWI on his record in the past five years, your penalties include a permanent CDL revocation.
Can I Fight My Charges?
Yes, you can, and should, fight the charges. This charge can be challenged and it’s possible to win such a challenge. There are many different defenses out there, including probable cause and other factors which could show your BAC as high.
That said, it’s highly advisable to only challenge such a charge with the help of an experienced attorney. Look around for attorneys who are experienced in this area of the law and who have a proven track record.