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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.

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New York, NY DWI defense attorney

The legal implications of a car crash caused by drunk driving become significantly more complicated if there is a child in the vehicle. The New York Child Protection Act, also known as Leandra’s Law, took effect in 2009. Leandra Rosado was an 11-year-old girl who was killed in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver who lost control of her vehicle after allegedly drinking for hours before she got behind the wheel. Leandra’s father fought for these stricter laws to be put in place. Because of this, it is essential to understand the consequences of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Regardless of the details surrounding a car accident, you must work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend yourself against criminal charges related to drunk driving. 

Child Protection Act/Leandra’s Law

Leandra’s law is designed to protect children from intoxicated drivers. The law’s initial form only punished drivers for being intoxicated while they had a child under 16 years of age in the vehicle. However, the final form of the bill goes one step further and requires that all drivers convicted of misdemeanor or felony drunk driving charges (even if they are a first-time offender) must equip an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle they own for at least six months. At the time, New York was one of only 10 states to have a first offender ignition interlock law.

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