Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ithaca DWI Lawyer Asks Who has Charging Power in New York State?

Our local LEOs with DWI charging power
from STOP DWI in Tompkins County Poster

I love South Park. Cartman's most famous line: Respect my authority! I think Eric Cartman understands the charging power of LEOs.

LEOs = Law Enforcement Officers = State Troopers, County Deputies, Campus Police, Town Police, Village Police, City Police and they all have charging power.

Any LEO in NYS can charge you with a crime. Some crimes (like traffic violations) they must actually witness, and others that they must have the minimal PC (probable cause) standard for. You can also be charged with crimes by the District Attorney's office. ADAs will regularly charge crimes after they gather the necessary evidence (proof)

Probable Cause is defined legally as the reasonable belief (reasonable and trustworthy information) that someone has committed a crime.

Along with this power to charge comes the ability to add charges, dismiss charges, increase charges, and also decrease charges. Police at roadside may not charge you with everything they witness, they may (in their discretion) decide to write you up for a lesser speed or for a downgraded offense. This is referred to as a Roadside Reduction.

This is significant because if you contest (challenge) what they have written they can go back, as in re-file, and up charges and/or add charges. You can sometimes look over their supporting deposition for what they actually witnessed, ie. 51mph in a 30mph zone but they wrote you for a turn signal or improper lane change.

It is also common in DWIs involving blood tests to charge you way after the stop and arrest. The charges may come months later in a letter from the DA. If they now have proof of blood alcohol and/or drugs they can charge you with an additional .08 BAC DWI or .18 BAC DWI or a DWAI drugs. If someone has been seriously hurt they can also charge you with a vehicular assault (a felony level charge). Because it involves the proof of serious injuries they usually wait to get medical records (documentation) before making their charging decision.

So the moral to the story,
be polite with LEOs but do not answer questions or make any statements.
be polite with LEOs but don't do (submit to) field sobriety tests.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.

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 95% 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 450 blog posts, dozens of articles, and over 425 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.