Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New York DWI: Always Go to the Arrest Scene

WHY You Should Go to the DWI scene?

Uneven Surfaces abound in this area
Can You See the Imaginary Line?
Cayuga Heights, New York DWI Reduced to a DWAI

Some Police Officers Like to Argue it's a "Pretend" Line. 

Is there Really a difference between a "pretend" and an"imaginary" Line?

A Gravel Surface, Imagine Walking this Barefoot?
That's what the police had my client do

DWI Case by The Boatyard Grill, Ithaca, NY

In my practice of New York DWI defense law no two cases are exactly the same. Any lawyer who says well it's just a "garden variety" DWI is sadly mistaken. A successful DWI defense, or any defense for that matter is a question of looking through, or at the details of the day, the driving, the stop, the arrest, and the post arrest police documentation.

Events NEVER take place in a vacuum. Some lawyers read the police report in five minutes, and then are done with their case analysis.

There is ALWAYS a DWI Story

There is always a chronology, and there are "stories." One version of the story will be through the eyes, ears, and nose (the senses) of the arresting officer, another version of the events will be through the eyes of the accused. Something in between those two versions may reside the truth.

Law enforcement often tells a biased and prejudiced DWI story. One that makes the person being arrested look, smell, and act badly. Opinions are always SUBJECTIVE not OBJECTIVE. I like to say somewhere between your client's version of the events and the police officer's version of the events lies the TRUTH of what really took place.

My teacher, Robert Deniro

My Best Criminal Defense Lessons Come from the Movies  

I am a big movie fan. I love Robert DeNiro. When great actors like Deniro are coupled with amazing dialogue movie magic happens.

In the film Ronin, DeNiro is going over the details of a bank heist, all the guys are gathered round, and as he is going over the map he STATES loudly and slowly,

  "The map is not the territory" 

DeNiro wants his men to canvas the scene, he wants them to walk, drive, and feel the target location. Looking at a map (2 dimensions) will never replace the 3 D of going and being there.

KEY Takeaway: On DWI Cases I Defend I Visit the Street/Road/Place of the DWI Arrest

In order to completely defend the charges of a DWI (or any crime) an attorney MUST visit the scene. This is the place of the FSTs (Field Sobriety Tests), and the arrest area. I cannot emphasize this enough. I cannot and will not begin to cross examine a police officer on a location I have not first visited. It is a big error that many attorneys often commit. Not going to the location and doing the walk through and drive through limits you on many levels.

How was the road? How was the sidewalk? What were the lighting conditions? How many street lights were overhead? Was there any trees, bushes, and foliage blocking anything? What was the weather like? I want to know the type of clothing worn. I want to know the type of shoes worn.

The REAL Question

Under what conditions and location did the accused have to perform these tests? 

If I go too late in the season things can change, like the trees and the views.

My mind races as I ponder questions I want to ask the cop for this is the beginning of the raising of reasonable doubts. These things are what I consider the potential and the possible, the many common sense reasons besides intoxication for BAD performance which in the Police Officer's estimation led to an arrest for DWI.

Always consult with an attorney about any criminal or non-criminal charges you have pending to discuss your options and/or defenses.

Reviews of Larry Newman:

Chosen as a 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI in Upstate New York by Super Lawyers

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