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What to do if You’re Falsely Arrested in New York

For the most part, the NYPD is good at what it does — enforcing the law to keep innocent civilians safe. However, law enforcement agencies are made up of human beings and unfortunately, errors in judgment do occur. One of the most common of these errors is false arrest cases, which make up 6.8% of misconduct cases filed against police departments. These instances, regardless of the reasons, can have serious effects on the innocent arrestees, including not only practical effects such as missed work time, but also emotional and/or psychological distress.

When Can a Police Officer Arrest a Civilian in NY?

There are only a few reasons for which a police officer can legally arrest a civilian.

These include:

  •      If there is a warrant out for the arrest of the civilian
  •      If there is probable cause to indicate that the civilian has committed a crime
  •      If the civilian is disrupting or interfering with a police investigation and/or arrest
  •      If a police officer reasonably suspects that a civilian is a criminal attempting to flee the scene of a crime.

However, in New York, there is a loophole: the notorious stop-and-frisk policy. This policy allows NYPD officers to have a much lower standard for probable cause, meaning that they can legally stop and even pat down innocent pedestrians, usually doing so in areas with high crime rates. It is important to note that this controversial law does not override the need for police officers to be justified in their searching and potentially arresting civilians.

If You Are Falsely Arrested

If you find yourself in a situation of being arrested for a crime you did not commit, or if you do not believe that the officer had the legal right to stop and question you in the first place, you may be able to sue the NYPD for damages. While some citizens may be hesitant to stand up for themselves in this type of situation, the NYPD, like every government institution, needs to remain accountable to American citizens. Therefore, do not feel as if you are in the wrong for seeking recompense from the NYPD, especially if your false arrest was due to bias or gross negligence on the part of the arresting officer.

Get in Touch with an Experienced Lawyer

Suing the NYPD for a false arrest is a complex and time-sensitive matter. You will need someone at your side who understands and has experience with the intricacies of New York laws. Therefore, call me, Jason Steinberger, and I will discuss your case with you. My number is 646-256-1007, and you can reach me day or night, 24/7. Also, I offer an initial consultation, free of charge, so that we can discuss the basics of your case together. I look forward to speaking with you about your false arrest case.

Implied Consent Law and What it Means to You

While you may not have read all the paperwork carefully when applying to get your driver’s license, it contains some important information. In the state of New York, when you sign to get your driver’s license, you also agree to the New York Implied Consent Law. What this means is that if you are pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you must submit to a chemical test or face immediate penalties.

In New York, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. If you are over this limit, you may be charged with a per se offense and arrested for driving while intoxicated. An officer may pull you over at any time if they suspect that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Once a police officer pulls you over, implied consent laws give him or her the right to ask you to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your BAC.

If you refuse, you are violating the implied consent statute and you will be subject to penalties. However, the officer must inform you of these penalties by reading an implied consent warning.

Consequences of Violating Implied Consent Laws

If you refuse to take a chemical test when requested by an officer of the law, your license may be suspended for one year if this is your first refusal or 18 months if this is your second refusal. Commercial drivers, such as truck drivers, may have their license suspended for 18 months for their first refusal and can face permanent revocation of their license for a second refusal. Drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 may have their license suspended for one year.

You are subject to civil fines for refusing to take a chemical test. Fines can be up to $500 for a first refusal and $750 for a second refusal. These penalties can be applied even if you are not convicted of DWI in criminal court. Just refusing to take the test can result in these additional fines.

Furthermore, refusing to take a chemical test can be used against you in criminal courts as evidence of guilt. The prosecution will argue that you refused the test since you knew that you would fail because your BAC was above the legal limit. The only possible exception to this is if the arresting officer failed to read the implied consent warning to you. For these reasons, it is usually best to take the test, even if you suspect your BAC may be above legal limits.

Contact Us

If you are facing charges after refusing a chemical BAC test in Nassau County, you will need the help of an experienced attorney to develop your refusal case and fight any further DWI charges. Contact me, Jason Steinberger, at 718-585-2833 to discuss your options. I have years of experience as a DWI lawyer and can be contacted 24/7 for a free consultation.

The Differences Between DUI and DWI in NY

Although the term DUI is often used interchangeably with DWI in New York, DUI charges do not actually exist in the state of New York. Typically, in states that make a legal distinction, the difference is that a DWI is when the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded the legal limit, which is currently 0.08% in New York A DUI is when a driver’s BAC does not exceed the legal limit, but the driver is still intoxicated due to the use of drugs or alcohol.

In New York, instead of DUIs, drivers with a BAC that does not exceed the legal limit are charged with a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired). You can be charged with a DWAI if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.07%. Anything greater than this will result in a DWI charge. Additionally, note that there are two different types of DWAIs: DWAI-Drugs and DWAI-Alcohol, the former being when the driver is under the influence of drugs, the latter when the driver is under the influence of alcohol.

Penalties for DWIs and DWAIs

The penalties for DWIs and DWAIs vary greatly, depending on the situation. A first-time DWAI-Alcohol conviction will result in a $300-$500 penalty, a maximum jail time of 15 days, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension of 90 days. However, if a driver is convicted of a DWAI-Drugs, the penalties are more severe. A first-time DWAI-Drugs conviction will entail a $500-$1000 penalty, up to a year in prison, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least 6 months. These are identical charges to a first-time DWI conviction, except that a DWI conviction results in a 6-month driver’s license revocation. Additionally, any driver convicted of a DWI in New York will have to install an interlock ignition device on their car. This device is a Breathalyzer, which the driver must blow into before the car will start, and if any alcohol is detected, the car will not start.

In addition, subsequent offenses will result in increased penalties, and, under the Zero Tolerance Law, if the driver is under 21, he or she will likely lose his or her license until he or she turns 21. On top of this, there can be unique penalties if a driver is under the influence of both drugs and alcohol or if the intoxicated individual was driving aggressively along with other complicated guidelines.

Call Us Today

Because of the complicated nature of these laws, it is important to have a good DWI lawyer who has experience representing individuals in DWI and DWAI cases. Call me, Jason Steinberger, at 646-256-1007 and I will be happy to discuss your case with you. I have worked on hundreds of DWI and DWAI cases, and will gladly provide you with a free consultation to inform you of your initial options. You can call me day or night, 24/7.

What to Expect at a Second DWI Refusal Hearing in New York

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test of your blood alcohol content when pulled over under suspicion of a DWI in New York, you can be charged with a per se DWI. This means that you are charged with a DWI because of refusing to take the test. Even if you are not found guilty of a DWI, refusing a chemical test is grounds to having your license revoked. After your refusal, you will usually have your first refusal hearing within several days. Often, the arresting officer will not appear for the hearing. This will lead to your driving privileges being returned without the hearing being held.

This does not mean that the charges are dropped. A second hearing will be scheduled later. The date of your second refusal hearing will usually be scheduled within the next three months and the information will be sent to you by mail. This second DWI refusal hearing will establish the key factors of the case to determine if you will have your license revoked.

Issues to Be Determined at the Second Refusal Hearing

Four key issues will be discussed at the second refusal hearing that must be established in order to move forward with the case.

  1. The police officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you had been driving while intoxicated.
  2. The police officer made a lawful arrest.
  3. You were given sufficient warning, in clear and unequivocal language, that refusing a BAC test would result in the immediate suspension and subsequent revocation of your license or vehicle operating privileges whether or not you were found guilty a DWI.
  4. You refused to submit to the chemical test.

During the hearing, the judge will use all the evidence from your case to determine if these grounds are met and if you will lose your license.

What If the Police Officer Does Not Come to the Second Hearing Either?

While some types of cases can be dismissed if the arresting officer fails to attend the hearing, unfortunately that is not always the case. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can conduct the refusal hearing without the police officer appearing in person. The ALJ can review the police officer’s reports, including the Report of Refusal made at the time of arrest, and any other relevant evidence that has been submitted to the DMV. Using the evidence in these reports, the ALJ may still make a finding against the driver and determine that all the criteria discussed above have been fulfilled. In this case, your license can still be revoked.

The only way to avoid the ALJ ruling without hearing the officer’s report in person is by requesting an adjournment to subpoena the police officer for purposes of cross-examination. If the officer fails to respect the subpoena, only then are the charges dropped.

In general, second refusal hearings are quite short, especially if the Report of Refusal has been filled out properly. This is because it is very difficult to contest having your license revoked under implied consent laws in New York. If you want to get charges dropped, it is very important to get an experienced DWI lawyer to help you build your case based on the available evidence.

Contact Us

If you have been charged with a DWI after refusing to take a Breathalyzer test in Nassau County, consider calling me, Jason Steinberger, at 718-585-2833 to represent you. I would be happy to fight to get the best possible outcome of your case and if possible help you keep your license. You can contact me 24/7 to discuss your options.

Can a Refusal Hearing Be Postponed in New York?

If you have refused to take a Breathalyzer test in New York, you will be required to go to a refusal hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. These hearings are automatic. It does not matter if you have been formally charged or convicted of a DWI. Simply refusing to take the chemical test will trigger a refusal hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles to determine if your license will be revoked.

When and Where Will Refusal Hearings Be Held?

Normally, refusal hearings are scheduled within two weeks of your DWI arrest in New York and you will be required to attend. Every driver charged with a refusal to take a Breathalyzer test when requested by a police officer has the right to an attorney. You should make sure to prepare with your attorney ahead of the hearing. The hearing will be held in front of Hearing Officers, also known as Administrative Law Judges.

Refusal hearings are held in the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. In Nassau County, the biggest DMV office is in Massapequa at 927 Carmans Road. You will be told which DMV office your hearing will be located. It will usually be determined according to where your arrest took place.

Postponing Your Hearing

Usually, it is best to try to attend your hearing when it is originally scheduled. However, if you have a good reason to adjourn (or postpone) the hearing, you can apply to have it rescheduled. To attempt to be given an adjournment, you must contact the Hearing Officer responsible for your particular hearing, or contact the New York Safety Hearing Bureau or the Division of Vehicle Safety.

There are three requirements that must be met in order for your postponement request to be approved:

  • The DMV must receive your request at least 7 days before the original hearing is scheduled.
  • You have not asked for a postponement before.
  • Your request has a good cause.

A request to adjourn the refusal hearing for a later date is completely discretionary. That means that postponement is not guaranteed. However, if your reason is real and urgent, requests may be approved.

If your postponement is approved, another hearing will be scheduled. This date cannot be changed. Approving your adjournment does not lift the suspension of your license. The suspension pending the results of the refusal hearing continues until an Administrative Law Judge hears your case. Additionally, any added suspension time will not be credited towards any revocation period ultimately imposed by the DMV for the chemical test refusal because you requested the delay.

Get the Support You Need at Your Hearing

Although you can attend these hearings alone if you prefer, it is very helpful to have an attorney to present your case. There are only very limited ways to avoid having your license revoked after refusing a chemical blood alcohol test in New York. Only an experienced DWI lawyer will know how to fight for your case in a way that gives you the best possible chance to keep your license.

Contact Us

If you refused a Breathalyzer test in Nassau County and risk having your license revoked, contact me, Jason Steinberger, at 718-585-2833 to discuss your options. I have years of experience as a DWI lawyer and will fight for the best outcome to your case. Contact me anytime for a consultation on your case, free of charge.