10 Things to Do at a DWI Stop in Westchester County
Advice from DWI Attorney Robert Schuster
1. Keep Your Hands Visible
Keep your hands on the steering wheel and visible before and during being
approached by the officer.
2. Have Your License Ready
Provide the officer with your license and pedigree information
3. Do Not Agree to a Search
Do not agree to a search of your vehicle or person. Be polite. Realize
that if you are taken into custody you and your vehicle may then be searched
incident to arrest. However, unless that happens, do not voluntarily consent
to a search.
4. Remain Silent & Polite
Do not answer any questions regarding what you had to drink. These responses
are 710.30 admissions and are discoverable. Reply with "I have been
advised by an attorney not to respond to any questions." Remain polite
and unemotional. Being cooperative does not require that you make any
admissions. Do not capitulate if threatened with being taken into custody.
This is likely to happen anyway if you have been drinking.
5. Never Consent to Breath & Blood Tests
Never consent to a blood test for alcohol or drugs. Pursuant to the new
U.S. Supreme Court case of Missouri v. McNeely, decided in April 2013,
the state must have a warrant to obtain a blood sample.
6. Field Sobriety Tests May Not Be Advisable
In New York State, it is often advisable to agree to
field sobriety tests to avoid a possible 1‑year civil revocation of your driving privileges
following a Revocation Hearing. In certain circumstances where there is
a very high reading, hindsight illustrates that agreeing to field sobriety
testing may not have been strategic. Should your BAC prove to be double
to legal limit (.16%) or higher, be aware that should you seek a negotiated
plea, absent evidentiary weaknesses in the case, it will be extremely
difficult to avoid a misdemeanor conviction and obtain a non-criminal
DWAI violation pursuant to the office policies of the Westchester County
District Attorney's Office.
Should your BAC be higher than .18%, you will be charged with
aggravated DWI making probation a possibility should you seek a negotiated plea and choose
not fight the case at trial. A person sentenced to probation with DWI
conditions in Westchester County will likely be unable to drive for a
time equal or excess of the time that they would be unable to drive pursuant
to a civil revocation for refusal. Therefore, if you are confident that
your BAC is extremely high, it may not be strategic to consent to a breath
test. Of course, it goes without saying that this is a difficult assessment
for most people to make, particularly if intoxicated.
7. Pay Attention During the Walk-and-Turn
When the sobriety test known as "the walk and turn test" is conducted,
note and remember whether or not the officer asks you to walk on a real
or imaginary line. If the line drawn is actual, note whether it is a line
that has been drawn with chalk, or if it is a painted traffic line and
then note the location of that line. Pay attention to whether or not the
road surface is flat and even, or has an incline/decline.
8. Note the Patrol Car's Lights During an HGN Test
If the officer performs the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (asks you to
track a light or object with your eye), look to see if the patrol car's
siren lights are within or reflecting into your field of vision and note same.
9. Inform the Officer of Any Physical Conditions
Tell the officer of any physical conditions you have that may interfere
with your ability to perform any field sobriety test. Disclose no other
10. Speak to a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Ask the officer, at the earliest opportunity, to speak to a
Westchester DWI lawyer. Once you actually hire an attorney, be certain that the attorney has
extensive experience in handling DWI cases and trying them to a successful verdict.
The Law Offices of Robert Schuster features an attorney who has been named
as a Top DWI Lawyer in New York by the American Instittute of DWI Atorneys
and named among the Top 100 DWI attorneys in New York State by the National
Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD).
Get in touch with the firm today to discuss your case with Attorney Schuster in a