A very important step when arrested in New York State for 1192.2 DWI is the Arraignment. Typically, after an arrest the Defendant is brought before the Court where s/he is informed of the charges such as DWI or DWAI and then permitted to enter a plea if s/he so desires.
The Judge conducting the arraignment will provide the accused with copies of the NYS DWI or DWAI charges and then read the charges aloud in open court. If it is a Misdemeanor DWI or DWAI drugs charge the Judge may then ask the Defendant if they have an attorney and inform the Defendant that if they cannot afford an attorney one may be appointed.
The Judge will ask the Defendant how they wish to plead to the charges and only an answer of guilty or not guilty can be given. If the Defendant refuses to answer the Judge may enter a not guilty plea on their behalf. Then, depending on the severity and circumstances of the DWI DWAI arrest and the driving history of the Defendant the Judge will decide whether or not to set bail.
Next, if the Court has a certified copy of the Defendant’s BAC test that shows a Blood Alcohol Content of more than .08 % the Defendant’s New York State driver’s license is confiscated and their driving privileges are suspended by the Court under the Prompt Suspension Law. If the Defendant refused to submit to a blood alcohol concentration test aka BAC test, the Judge will schedule a civil DMV hearing to determine if his/her driving privileges will be revoked.
At the Arraignment for a NYS DWI or DWAI an attorney can advise a Defendant of the severity of the penalties they face and depending on the circumstances the Attorney may move the court for a hardship license allowing the Defendant to drive to and from work, to medical appointments or to school, while the NYS DWI or DWAI charges are pending. A competent Attorney will examine the BAC report and make certain that the Court has a certified copy of a BAC test, because without one the Court cannot suspend a Defendant’s driver’s license. Finally, depending on the circumstances of the initial roadside stop, the Attorney may move the Court for a Pringle hearing to determine whether Law Enforcement conducted a valid chemical test that produced a result giving them reasonable cause to arrest the Defendant for DWI.
A veteran police officer once told me “a driver’s license is a privilege not a right.” Sadly, he was correct, while Americans have the right to travel guaranteed by the Constitution, there is no Constitutional right to drive an automobile. If you live in Dutchess, Ulster, Putnam or Orange Counties, then you know that life without the ability to drive is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
If you are arrested for a NYS DWI or DWAI you face the possible loss your license, mandatory attendance at a drinking driver program, monetary fines and jail time. DWI penalties depend on factors like: your age; the substance impairing you (alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both); your driver’s license (regular passenger license vs. a special license like a CDL) and; whether you submitted to a chemical test.
Having an Attorney represent you at the early stages of the legal process will greatly improve your ability to make informed decisions, help you preserve your rights and if possible, obtain conditional driving privileges while the charges are pending.