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Can I Be Arrested For DWI In New York If I Am Not Actually Driving?

 Posted on October 13, 2020 in Criminal Defense

New York City DWI defense attorneyWhile the term “driving while intoxicated” seems to imply that offenders can only be arrested when they are driving, the definition of the offense under New York law is actually slightly broader. State statutes specifically declare that “no person shall operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition,” which means there is a possibility of facing charges in certain situations other than when you are actively driving. With this technicality in mind, it is especially important that you understand your rights if you are arrested and the possible penalties you may face if you are convicted.

What Does it Mean to Operate a Motor Vehicle?

As you might expect, operating a vehicle includes any situation in which you are behind the wheel while the vehicle is moving. An intoxicated driver in motion poses a clear threat to other drivers on the road, and a law enforcement officer can pull over and arrest a driver with probable cause to believe that he or she is intoxicated. The officer may also ask the driver to submit to a chemical test to measure blood alcohol concentration, and a result of 0.08 or higher can be used as evidence to prosecute DWI charges.

However, you may also be arrested for DWI while sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car while the engine is running. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may see this as a sign of your intent to drive while intoxicated, or possibly as evidence that you have driven while intoxicated if you are found at a location that is a significant distance from your home or the place where you were drinking.

Defending Against New York DWI Charges

A DWI conviction in New York can result in a revoked driver’s license for at least six months, up to $1,000 in fines, and up to one year in jail for a first offense, and penalties increase for subsequent offenses. Because of the potential for serious consequences, it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who may be able to help you avoid conviction or decrease your sentence.

The prosecution may have a harder time establishing your guilt if you were arrested while sitting in a parked car, but that does not mean that you are in no danger of conviction. Your attorney can advise you as to the severity of the charges you are facing and enact a defense strategy to contest the charges and establish your innocence, or to work toward a plea agreement that can lead to a reduced sentence.

Contact an NYC DWI Defense Attorney

At The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq. PLLC, we understand how serious any DWI charges can be. Attorney Watford has firsthand experience as a law enforcement officer, and he will build a strong defense for you based on his knowledge of how the criminal justice system works. Contact a New York City criminal defense lawyer today at 646-580-6675.



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