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The DWI Process in Westchester County

Westchester County DWI Lawyer Explains What to Expect

The Law Offices of Robert Schuster is highly familiar with the criminal process. Attorney Robert Schuster has handled hundreds of DWI cases and has never lost a DWI trial. Additionally, Attorney Schuster is recognized by the NAFDD as one of the top 100 DWI attorneys in the state of New York. Speak with a Westchester County DWI attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and learn what to expect. Our firm can provide the guidance and the solid defense that you need when you are facing charges of driving while intoxicated.

Investigation and Arrest

The police officer notices erratic driving or other evidence that a driver is drunk, or pulls the driver over for speeding or another traffic violation. While speaking with the driver, he or she notices indicators of intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or the smell of alcohol. The officer normally requests the driver to exit the vehicle in order to perform a series of standardized field sobriety tests to determine whether the suspect is ability impaired. If the driver fails the test or if the officer has other grounds to believe that the suspect is guilty of driving while intoxicated, the officer makes an arrest. Next, the driver is requested to submit to chemical testing such as a breath or blood test. The driver may refuse the test, though this will lead to an automatic suspension under New York's implied consent law.

Arraignment

This is the first appearance the DWI suspect will make in the courtroom. The judge reads the suspect's rights and reads the charges in the case, as well as inquiring as to whether the defendant chooses to plead guilty or not guilty. Under certain circumstances, such as if the defendant refused chemical testing, the court will impose a pre-conviction of driving privileges, as well as scheduling a refusal hearing at which the defendant may choose to contest the license suspension.

DMV Hearings

Your Westchester criminal defense lawyer can represent you in your DMV hearing to contest the grounds for an automatic suspension of your driver's license. The hearing is not conducted in criminal court, but it is based on the same evidence that the prosecutor will use against you; therefore, it provides your lawyer with a valuable opportunity to learn about the case in order to better prepare your defense. Additionally, you may request a restricted license at a hardship hearing based on evidence that a license suspension would subject you to extreme hardship.

Pre-Trial Conference

The next step in the criminal case is to appear at the pre-trial conference, which is essentially a courtroom hearing at which your defense lawyer and the prosecutor will meet before the judge to discuss the case and a possible plea bargain. In addition to the pre-trial conference, your case may involve a suppression hearing, which is the venue at which your lawyer would file a motion to suppress evidence in the case based on the fact that your rights were violated during the investigation, such as by an unlawful traffic stop. Many cases are resolved at this stage, whether through a plea bargain or by a dismissal of the charges.

Trial

Should the case proceed further, it will go to a full trial at which the evidence and arguments of both sides will be heard by a jury. Your defense lawyer will have the opportunity to introduce evidence and witnesses in your favor, as well as to cross examine the testimony of the prosecutor's witnesses and to challenge the evidence against you. If you are convicted, the judge will deliver a sentence which may include penalties such as fines, time in jail or prison, probation and participation in a Drunk Driving Program or Victim Impact Panel. Your lawyer can still advocate on your behalf at this point in pursuit of a lighter sentence.

Hire a Westchester DWI Lawyer Now

The key to success in DWI defense is to hire a lawyer as early as possible after your arrest to speak on your behalf in court and to guide you through the entire process. With an attorney on your side who has been recognized by the American Institute of DWI Attorneys as a Top 10 DWI Lawyer in New York, you can take a confident approach to your case. Contact The Law Offices of Robert Schuster now for an initial consultation with a Westchester DWI lawyer over the phone to discuss the circumstances of your arrest and to learn more about your legal options.