(516) 972-1212

Long Island DWAI Attorney

The offense of driving while ability impaired by alcohol is specified in Vehicle & Traffic Law (VTL) Section 1192(1). New York’s DWAI law prohibits any person from operating a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate such motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol beverages.

The term motor vehicle includes cars, trucks, or motorcycles driving on any public highway or private road. In some circumstances, even sitting behind the wheel of the car in the driver’s seat while the engine is running in a parking lot can lead to an arrest for DWAI.

Call an attorney at the Law Office of Stephanie Selloni to discuss your arrest for DWAI in and around Garden City. She represent clients on DWI and DWAI charges throughout Long Island, including Glen Cove, Westbury, Floral Park, Hempstead, and the surrounding areas in Nassau County. Law Office of Stephanie Selloni also represents defendants in Suffolk County and all five boroughs of New York City. Call us today at (516) 972-1212.

Information on New York DWAI Charges

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Circumstances of Impairment

New York’s DWAI laws do not require any particular chemical or physical test to prove that a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by the consumption of alcohol. Instead, the jury is instructed at trial that to determine whether defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired, the jury may consider all the surrounding facts and circumstances, including, for example:

  • the defendant’s physical condition and appearance, balance and coordination, and manner of speech;
  • the presence or absence of an odor of alcohol;
  • the manner in which the defendant operated the motor vehicle;
  • opinion testimony regarding the defendant’s sobriety;
  • the circumstances of any accident;
  • the results of any test of the content of alcohol in the defendant’s blood.

The jury instruction for this charge provides that “[a] person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is IMPAIRED by the consumption of alcohol when that person’s consumption of alcohol has actually impaired, to any extent, the physical and mental abilities which such person is expected to possess in order to operate a vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver.”

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DWAI Cases with a Breath Test Reading of 0.05 or Over

In DWAI cases in which the driver submits to a chemical test and the results show a blood alcohol content (BAC), the results of the test may be admissible at trial. Law enforcement agencies throughout Long Island and Nassau County use different devices to measure blood alcohol content. 

Certain devices are considered generally accepted instruments for deterring the driver’s BAC. These devices must be included on the Department of Health schedule (10 NYCRR § 59.4[b]) of those devices satisfying its criteria for reliability (10 NYCRR § 59.4[a]).

Absent evidence to the contrary, such instruments are often considered to be sufficiently reliable to permit the admissibility of test results without expert testimony. For the results on these devices to be admissible at trial, the prosecutor is not required to offer expert scientific testimony to establish the validity of the principles upon which the device is based.

Despite the shortcuts available to the prosecutor, the breath test readings can be inaccurate or unreliable for any number of reasons. Your attorney can move to suppress or exclude the breath test readings if certain problems exist in the case.

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Presumptions of Impairment

Under the laws of the State of New York the following presumptions of impairment apply: 

  • evidence that there was a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 % or less by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood is prima facie evidence that the ability of the defendant to operate a motor vehicle was not impaired;
  • evidence that there was .07 of one percent or more but less than .08 of one percent by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood is prima facie evidence that the ability of the defendant to operate a motor vehicle was impaired.

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Considerations of Test Results

In determining whether the BAC results should be trusted, the Court will offer an instruction that the following factors can be considered: 

  • the qualifications and reliability of the person who gave the test;
  • the lapse of time between the operation of the motor vehicle and the giving of the test;
  • whether the device used was in good working order at the time the test was administered; and
  • whether the test was properly given.

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Improper Refusal to Submit to a Test after a DWAI Test

If there is evidence of an improper refusal to submit to a test, the test result could be excluded. New York’s DWAI laws provides that if a person has been given a clear and unequivocal warning of the consequences of refusing to submit to a chemical test and persists in refusing to submit to such test, and there is no innocent explanation for such refusal, then the jury may, but is not required to, infer that the defendant refused to submit to a chemical test because he or she feared that the test would disclose evidence of the presence of alcohol in violation of the law.

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Finding a DWAI Attorney in Nassau County

If you were arrested for DWAI in Garden City, call us to discuss your case. We represent clients accused of serious driving offenses throughout Long Island, including the cities of Mineola, Hempstead, Westbury, Floral Park, and Glen Cove. Call us today at (516) 972-1212 for a free consultation.