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What are possible defense options to a DWI charge in New York?


Being accused of drunk driving can have serious repercussions. Many motorists fear the potential penalties associated with such an allegation; moreover, accused drunk drivers are often unsure of their rights and options in the matter. While many view a DWI as a traffic violation, in reality, it is a criminal traffic offense that could impose hardships and serious consequences if a driver is convicted. Thus, understanding the available defense strategies is paramount.

What are possible defense options to a DWI charge in New York? If a driver decides to take an affirmative defense approach, which means that they admit to doing the act but have a defensive excuse for it, there are five paths that could be taken. A driver could claim necessity, duress, entrapment, mistake of fact or involuntary intoxication.

In contrast, if a driver seeks to assert a defense against a drunk driving charge, he or she could take one of the six common defense routes. The accused motorists could claim an improper stop, argue the administration or accuracy of a field sobriety test, argue the administration or accuracy of a portable breathalyzer test, argue the administration or accuracy of a standard breathalyzer test or call into question the administration or chain of custody of a blood test or challenge a BAC test due to rising blood alcohol concentration.

A driver could also take less common defense paths. This includes claiming that he or she was not the driver in question or claim improper police actions. Whether a driver takes a common or uncommon defense or affirmative defense path, it is important that he or she understand the details of the matter. In order to devise a strong defense against the charges, drivers facing a DWI should seek legal guidance about their options and rights.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," accessed Feb. 20, 2017

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