Saturday, July 4, 2009

Holiday Headaches: The 4th of July DWI Reality

One cool police /taxi cruiser?
You are going to pay either way, a little or a lot!!

I sit this morning in Jim Thorpe, PA awaiting our whitewater rafting adventure and as in every Fourth celebrating my son Sam's Birthday. Yeah, we have a son named Sam, and he was born on the Fourth of July. No, we didn't name him after Uncle Sam. We named him Samuel after my great grandfather. He was the first to come to Ellis Island in 1906, escaping religious persecution in Russia.

I got a call from a client the other day, he is still thinking that the crime of DWI is like a shoplifting charge, or a harassment charge, or a reckless endangerment charge (all misdemeanors). Yeah, if you stole from me in New York, or threatened my life, or threw a rock in my general direction, and it was a first time offense it is likely to be reduced to a non criminal disposition ( a non crime ), like a disorderly conduct violation ....

BUT BUT BUT you can be a great student, a super father, a marvelous husband, a responsible parent, an honest tax payor, a hard working employee, a law abiding citizen of the great USA, and still your first time DWI will NOT be reduced just because of all of the preceding.

Yes, it is true Virginia there is no free lunch, and no automatic DWI reductions at those higher blood alcohol levels (usually 0.12 or >). This is what truly bothers most first timer DWI offenders... No special treatment or consideration...even for wonderful people, the best amongst us.

In fact, the opposite trend is now true. The zealous government prosecutors have no qualms with prosecuting even lower BACs or even Refusal cases. Yes I'm talking about misdemeanor cases, and in this politically correct day and age, the crime of DWI is very high on the list of horrible offenses.

How do I know this? I'm in these Courts day after day, and listen to some Judges call the offense of DWI a crime of violence. Just last week, I asked for a fine reduction in a very small town, now mind you the State Surcharge for a DWI is $400, and the Town Justice fined my client more than what the District Attorney was requesting in their offer, and then launched into a speech about how terrible DWIs are, and how my client was going to pay big.

Who was this client? Someone who had been driving for 40 years with not even a traffic ticket, married for 35 years, in the same job for 25 years, and all of these additional fines added (by the Judge) because of one single isolated incident. Now the facts in this case were stacked heavily against us, and the charges numerous... so a reduction to a DWI was an incredible offer in this situation. (as a disclaimer, past results in any cases do not guarantee anything). Any criminal defense attorney that offers you guarantees of outcomes, run away!! I can only offer predictabilities (is that a word?).

So on this 4th of July, let Freedom ring, I am proud to be an American, I am proud and honored to defend DWIs, I will not be deterred, I will continue to fight the good fight, I will challenge at every opportunity and at every point of contention, and I will not let them win.

The 9 Most FAQ About NY DWI, here:

The New York Up State DWI Survival Guide, here:

Winning The NYS DWI Refusal Case, here:

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

Originally, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. My father was a NYS corrections officer, and my mother a waitress. I now live in Ithaca, NY with my wife (of 25 years), and four kids. I have a B.S. in Human Biology, Doctorates in Law and Chiropractic, and a Post Graduate in Acupuncture. I practiced as a Chiropractic Physician in Florida from 1986 to 1995. I graduated law school in 1997, and went on to practice trial law in FL, NY, NJ, and PA. I love practicing criminal defense and injury law within the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

Over 90% of the cases that I take on are New York DWI defense cases. I am certified as a breath tester by the Department of Transportation, the guidelines of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). I am certified in Field Sobriety Tests, and an active member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD). My online materials include over 550 blog posts, dozens of articles, and over 520 informative videos on my youtube channel.

I have co-authored Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York, in both 2011 and 2013. These are West Thomson legal manuals on New York State DWI defense, and focus on the best practices for other lawyers handling a New York DWI case. Included in Strategies for Defending DWI Cases in New York are materials I provide clients, such as my fee agreement and ways to avoid misdemeanor probation. I was selected by Super Lawyers as a Upstate New York 2013 Rising Star in DWI/DUI Defense based on my experience, contributions, and professional standing.


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