DWI FAQs

Katz Lawyers is recognized as a leading traffic law firm serving clients in New York City and throughout the state of New York. Over the past 15 years, we have helped thousands of drivers avoid the harsh penalties of a DWI or DWAI conviction on their records.

This page presents several of the most common questions we receive from drivers who have been charged with DWI and don't know where to turn for help. Call us with your specific questions and to arrange an initial consultation with attorney Seth Katz.

How do the police decide who to pull over for DWI?

Although holding a driver's license in New York is considered a privilege, not a civil right, police must demonstrate probable cause for making a traffic stop. They frequently look for excessive speed in a posted zone, erratic lane changes, unusual braking behavior and swerving wildly within the traffic lane. After talking to the driver, the police may determine that a field sobriety test may be appropriate to determine whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The field sobriety test or transportable Breathalyzer test will not give accurate evidence of DWI or DWAI. They are only used as a means for probable cause to make the arrest and transport the driver to the local precinct police station.

Was I required to take the field sobriety test or Breathalyzer test?

When you accepted your New York driver's license, you gave "implied consent" to obey the rules of the road and law enforcement. Drivers are under no legal requirement to submit to a field sobriety test or Breathalyzer. However, under the general principles of the prompt suspension of law, police have the right to confiscate your driver's license and transport you to the police station for further testing and processing. Bear in mind that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the right to suspend or revoke your driver's license for up to a year if you refuse to submit to the tests.

In the event of an accident with injuries, the police may obtain an immediate warrant requiring you to submit to a blood test to determine your BAC at the time of the accident.

What penalties do I face?

Criminal penalties for DWI and DWAI vary according to the level of charges, ranging from first offense DWI to felony DWAI for a repeat offense. For a full listing of New York penalties, visit our DWI page and our DWI Penalties in New York article page. Counties may have various court costs and other fees assessed in addition to the fines. In addition to immediate criminal penalties for a conviction, there are also serious future consequences of a DWI.

Will I lose my driver's license?

For many drivers charged with DWI or DWAI in New York, losing their driver's license is a harsher penalty than the fine and financial consequences. Every level of DWI charges includes a period of driver's license suspension or revocation as a component of the penalty. Fighting to keep a DWI off your record is critical to maintaining your driving privileges. If your license is suspended, there may be special conditions for applying for a hardship restriction that will allow you to drive for work or other specific reasons.

Get More DWI Information And All Of Your Questions Answered

Call Katz Lawyers in Manhattan at 646-835-2330 or 718-876-8105 on Staten Island or contact our offices in New York City by email to arrange an initial consultation to discuss your specific questions about your case.