Scales of Justice

Scales of Justice

 

Glenn W. Magnell

Attorney at Law

Criminal Defense - DWI - DUI - Traffic Law

162 Main Street, Goshen  NY  10924  &  151 Continental Rd., Cornwall, NY 12518

  Phone: 845-294-0585      Email: gmagnell@stormkinglaw.com

       Home  |  DWI  |  Criminal Defense  |  Traffic & Speeding  |  Commercial Drivers  |  Know Your Rights  |  Online Consultation  |  About Us  | Contact Us      

Orange County, NY, Dutchess County, NY, Putnam County, NY, Ulster County, NY, Rockland County, NY, Cornwall, NY, Newburgh, NY

Criminal Defense

DWI DUI & DWAI
Speeding & Traffic Tickets
CDL Holders
Online Consult
Misdemeanors
Felonies
Parole/Probation
Criminal Appeals
Know Your Rights
Traffic FAQ's
DWI FAQ's
Client Reviews
HV Courts Directory


Consultations

Fees

About Us
 

Clients Rights & Responsibilities


Contact Us


Web Log


Legal News


Related Links

American Bar Assoc.
NYS Bar Association
Orange County Bar Association
Elder Law Links
Criminal Law Links

Search The Web


Hudson Valley Counties Served:


Official PayPal Seal



Legal News


Home



 

DWI Frequently asked questions

What are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST's)?

Law enforcement personnel use a variety of tests that are supposed help them determine if someone is intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs.  Most commonly used are three tests that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved as having a scientific basis.  These are the horizontal gaze nystagamus(HGN), heel-to-toe walk and turn and the one leg stand test.  The HGN test is designed to test how smoothly a suspect's eyes can track from left to right and back again.  The other two tests provide some information as to the ability of a suspect to perform activities which require divided attention and also provide information on the the motor coordination of a defendant.  Different police agencies or officers may also use the alphabet test.

Should I take or refuse the SFST's?

Police officers use SFST's to determine whether or not they have "probable cause" to arrest a suspect for DWI.  Many attorneys consider these tests to have been designed to generate "failure" grades and do not accurately determine whether someone is or is not intoxicated.  Most attorneys recommend that people stopped for DWI should NOT take SFST's.  A refusal to take SFST's can result in a traffic ticket being written (in NYS). 

What else can constitute "probable cause" to arrest someone for DWI?

Officers will generally cite things like "glassy eyes", "odor of alcohol", "poor motor coordination", "slurred speech", etc., as probable cause to arrest if a suspect refuses to take SFST's.

Is DWAI a misdemeanor?

No, DWAI is a violation, not a misdemeanor or felony.  Nonetheless, a conviction for the offense can have very serious consequences.  However, a similar sounding offense, "DWAI-Drugs", is a misdemeanor and can be charged as a felony for second time offenders.

Can I be convicted of DWAI-Drugs for using marijuana and driving?

Yes, in theory you can.  However, the standard chemical test used by most police agencies to detect drug use is a urine test.  These tests do not show how much (if any) of a controlled substance is in a persons blood at the time they provide a urine sample.  Instead, they only show how much by-product of metabolizing the drug is present in the urine.  This is an important difference, since the by-products of metabolism can appear for days and sometime even weeks after drug use (especially in the case of marijuana).

What is a "field breath test" and how does it differ from a "chemical breath test"?

When a police officer is trying to determine if he has probable cause to arrest a driver he will typically use the SFST's (see above) and a hand held "breath test" device.  The hand held device can be used to help establish probable cause to arrest.  But, the device is not considered reliable enough to be used in evidence at a trial.  Instead, it is generally only used to show that there was some alcohol in a driver's system.  A chemical breath test device is a larger system that is set up at a police station.  It is designed to measure the amount of alcohol vapor in a person's "deep lung breath".  Based upon some complex (and not always reliable) scientific assumption the alcohol vapor in a given sample of breath is claimed to be similiar to the amount of alcohol in the blood of the person who gave the breath sample.  DWI attorneys frequently challenge the use and reliability of chemical breath tests.  The underlying science is questionable at best and for the results to have any evidentiary value the test must be done according to a strict procedure and the operator must have be certified by the NYS Department of Health to give the test.

What happens if a driver refuses to take a "chemical breath test"?

Prior to administering a chemical breath test the officer involved is required to advise the subject that should he refuse to take the test the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles may revoke his license for one year.  The officer will typically ask the subject twice if he is refusing to take the test and if he understands the impact of such a refusal.  If the driver persists in the refusal the officer will note that in the arrest documents.  When the driver first appears in court the judge will suspend his license pending a "refusal hearing" before a judge employed by NYS DMV.   The hearing must take place within a relatively short time after the initial court appearance.

What happens at a "refusal hearing"?

At the hearing the officer involved will testify and the subject of the hearing has a right to testify, but cannot be forced to do so.  The subject has a right to be represented by an attorney, but a court will not appoint an attorney to represent him if he cannot afford one.  At the hearing three basic questions are addressed: 1) did the officer have a reasonable cause to stop the subject's car?; 2) did the officer have probable cause to arrest the subject?; 3) did the subject knowingly refuse to take the chemical breath test?  Each of these three points must be proved by a majority of the evidence (legally known as the "burden of proof" being a "preponderance of the evidence").  This is a much lower standard of proof than is required at a trial to convict someone of a criminal offense.  If the judge finds that the officer met the standard of proof the one year revocation is ordered.  If the judge finds the standard of proof was not met the driver's license is returned to him.  A subject has a right to appeal the decision of the judge (but, appeals are rarely won).


D

Orange County,  NY

Blooming Grove, Town of Blooming Grove, Bullville, Campbell Hall, Central Valley, Town of Chester, Village of Chester, Chester,  Town of Cornwall, Cornwall on Hudson, Cornwall, Town of Crawford, Crawford, Village of Florida, Florida, Fort Montgomery, Town of Goshen, Village of Goshen, Goshen, Town of Greenville, Greenville, Greenwood Lake, Town of Hamptonburgh, Hamptonburgh, Village of Harriman, Harriman, Town of Highlands, Highlands, Highland Falls, Highland Mills, Village of Maybrook, Maybrook,  City of Middletown, Middletown, Town of Minisink, Minisink, Town of Monroe, Village of Monroe, Monroe, Town of Montgomery, Village of Montgomery,  Montgomery, Town of New Windsor, New Windsor, City of Newburgh, Town of Newburgh, Newburgh, Otisville, Port Jervis, City of Port Jervis, Salisbury Mills, Slate Hill, Town of Tuxedo, Village of Tuxedo, Tuxedo Park, Tuxedo, Unionville, United States Military Academy, Vails Gate, Walden, Town of Wallkill, Wallkill, Town of Warwick, Village of Warwick,  Warwick, Washingtonville, Town of Wawayanda, Wawayanda, West Point, Westtown, Town of Woodbury, Village of Woodbury, Woodbury.  

Orange County, NY - Courts Served:

Blooming Grove Town Court, Chester Town Court, Chester Village Court,lCornwall Town Court, Crawford Town Court, Deerpark Town Court, Florida Village Court, Goshen Town Court, Goshen Village Court, Greenville Town Court, Greenwood Lake Village Court, Hamptonburgh Town Court, Harriman Village Court, Highlands Town Court, Maybrook Village Court, Middletown City Court, Minisink Town Court, Monroe Town Court, Monroe Village Court, Montgomery Town Court, Montgomery Village Court, Mount Hope Town Court, New Windsor Town Court, Newburgh City Court, Newburgh Town Court, Orange County Court, Otisville Village Court, Port Jervis City Court, Tuxedo Town Court, Unionville Village Court, Walden Village Court, Wallkill Town Court, Warwick Town Court, Warwick Village Court, Washington Village Court, Wawayanda Town Court, Woodbury Town Court. (for Orange County address/phone number directory, click here).

Ulster County,  NY

Accord, Bearsville, Big Indian, Bloomington, Boiceville, Cherrytown, Chichester, Clintondale, Connelly, Cottekill, Cragsmoor, Eddyville, Ellenville, Esopus, Gardiner, Glasco, Glenford, Grahamsville, Greenfield Park, High Falls, Highland, Highmount, Hurley, Kerhonkson, Kingston, Krumville, Lake Hill, Lake Katrine, Leibhardt, Lyonsville, Malden, Malden Hudson, Malden on Hudson, Marlboro, Marlborough, Mettacahonts, Milton, Mldn on Hdsn, Modena, Mount Marion, Mount Merion Park, Mount Tremper, Napanoch, New Paltz, Olive, Olivebridge, Oliverea, Phoenicia, Pine Hill, Plattekill, Port Ewen, Rifton, Rosendale, Ruby, Saint Remy, Samsonville, Saugerties, Shady, Shandaken, Shokan, Spring Glen, Stone Ridge, Sundown, The Vly, Tillson, Ulster Park, Walker Valley, Wallkill, Wawarsing, West Camp, West Hurley, West Park, West Saugerties, West Shokan, Whitfield, Willow, Woodstock, Town of Denning, Village of Ellenville, Town of Esopus, Town of Gardiner, Town of Hardenburgh, Town of Hurley, Town of Kingston, Town of Lloyd, Town of Marbletown, Town of Marlborough, Town of New Paltz, Town of Olive, Town of Plattekill, Town of Rochester, Town of Rosendale, Town of Saugerties, Town of Shandaken, Town of Shawangunk, Town of Ulster, Town of Warwarsing, Town of Woodstock
 

Ulster County, NY - Courts Served:

Denning Town Court, Ellenville Village Court, Esopus Town Court, Gardiner Town Court, Hardenburgh Town Court, Hurley Town Court, Kingston City Court, Kingston Town Court, Lloyd Town Court, Marbletown Town Court, Marlborough Town Court, New Paltz Town Court, New Paltz Village Court, Olive Town Court, Plattekill Town Court, Rochester Town Court, Rosendale Town Court, Saugerties Town Court, Saugerties Village Court, Shandaken Town Court, Shawangunk Town Court, Ulster County Court, Ulster Town Court, Villain Village Court, Wawarsing Town Court, Woodstock Town Court. (for Ulster County address/phone number directory,click here).

Sullivan County,  NY

Barryville, Bethel, Bloomingburg, Burlingham, Callicoon, Callicoon Center, Claryville, Cochecton, Cochecton Center, Eldred, Fallsburg, Ferndale, Forestburg, Forestburgh, Fremont, Fremont Center, Glen Spey, Glen Wild, Grahamsville, Hankins, Harris, Highland Lake, Hortonville, Hurleyville, Jeffersonville, Kauneonga Lake, Kenoza Lake, Kiamesha Lake, Lake Huntington, Lew Beach, Liberty, Livingston Manor, Loch Sheldrake, Long Eddy, Mongaup Valley, Monticello, Mountain Dale, Mountaindale, Narrowsburg, Neversink, North Branch, Obernburg, Parksville, Phillipsport, Pond Eddy, Port Jervis, Rock Hill, Roscoe, Smallwood, South Fallsburg, Summitville, Swan Lake, Thompsonville, Westbrookville, White Lake, White Sulphur Springs, Woodbourne, Woodridge, Wurtsboro, Youngsville, Yulan, Town of Bethel, Town of Callicoon, Town of Cochecton, Town of Delaware, Town of Fallsburgh, Town of Freemont, Town of Highland, Town of Liberty, Town of Lumberland, Town of Mamakating, Town of Rockland, Town of Neversink, Town of Thompson, Town of Tusten.

Sullivan County, NY - Courts Served:

Bethel Town Court, Bloomingburg Village Court, Callicoon Town Court, Cochecton Town Court, Delaware Town Court, Fallsburg Town Court, Forestburgh Town Court, Fremont Town Court, Highland Town Court, Liberty Town Court, Liberty Village Court, Lumberland Town Court, Mamakating Town Court, Monticello Village Court, Neversink Town Court, Rockland Town Court, Sullivan County Court, Thompson Town Court, Tusten Town Court, Woodridge Village Court.  (for Sullivan County address/phone number directory, click here).

Putnam County,  NY

Adams Corners, Brewster, Carmel, Cold Spring, Crofts Corners, Garrison, Kent Cliffs, Lake Carmel, Lake Lincolndale, Lake Mahopac, Lake Peekskill, Lake Secor, Mahopac, Mahopac Falls, Manitou, Nelsonville, North Highland, Oscawana Lake, Patterson, Philipstown, Putnam Valley, Sears Corners, Southeast, Tompkins Corners, Town of Kent Lakes, Town of Southeast, Town of Patterson, Town of Philipstown, Town of Carmel, Town of Putnam Lakes.

Putnam County, NY - Courts Served:

Brewster Village Court, Carmel Town Court, Cold Spring Village Court, Kent Town Court, Nelsonville Village Court, Patterson Town Court, Philipstown Town Court, Putnam County Court, Putnam Valley Town Court, Southeast Town Court.  (for Putnam County address/phone number directory, click here).

Dutchess County,  NY

Amenia, Arlington, Beacon, City of Beacon, Beekman, Brinckerhoff, Clinton, Crown Heights, Dover Plains, Dover, East Fishkill, Fairview, Fishkill, Fishkill, Haviland, Hillside Lake, Hopewell Junction, Hyde Park, La Grange, Milan, Millbrook, Millerton, Myers Corner, North East, Pawling, Pawling, Pine Plains, Pleasant Valley, Poughkeepsie, Red Hook, Red Hook, Red Oaks Mill, Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck, Spackenkill, Staatsburg, Stanford, Tivoli, Union Vale, Wappinger, Wappingers Falls, Washington, Town of Amenia, Town of Beekman, Town of Clinton, Town of Dover, Town of East Fishkill, Town of Fishkill, Village of Fishkill, Town of Hyde Park, Town of LaGrange, Town of Milan, Town of Millbrook,  Town of North East, Town of Pawling, Village of Pawling, Town of Pine PLains, Town of Pleasant Valley, Town of Poughkeepsie, City of Poughkeepsie, Town of Red Hook, Village Red Hook, Town of RhineBeck, Village of Rhinebeck, Town of Stanford, Village of Tivoli, Village of Union Vale, Town of Wappinger, Willage of Wappingers Falls, Town of Washington.

Dutchess County, NY - Courts Served:

Amenia Town Court, Beacon City Court, Beekman Town Court, Clinton Town Court, Dover Town Court, Dutchess County Court, East Fishkill Town Court, Fishkill Town Court, Fishkill Village Court, Hyde Park Town Court, LaGrange Town Court, Milan Town Court, Millbrook Village Court, Millerton Village Court, North East Town Court, Pawling Town Court, Pawling Village Court, Pine Plains Town Court, Pleasant Valley Town Court, Poughkeepsie City Court, Poughkeepsie Town Court, Red Hook Town Court, Red Hook Village Court, Rhinebeck Town Court, Rhinebeck Village Court, Stanford Town Court, Tivoli Village Court, Union Vale Town Court, Wappinger Town Court, Wappingers Falls Village Court, Washington Town Court.  (for Dutchess County address/phone number directory, click here).

Rockland County,  NY

Town of Clarkstown, Town of Haverstraw, Town of Orangetown, Town of Ramapo, Town of Stony Point, Upper Nyack, Nyack, Pomona, Haverstraw, West Haverstraw, Grand View, Piermont, South Nyack, Airmont, Chestnut Ridge, Hillburn, Kaser, New Hempstead, New Square, Montibello, Sloatsburg, Spring Valley, Suffern, Wesley Hills.

Rockland County, NY - Courts Served:

Airmont Village Court, Chestnut Ridge Village Court, Clarkstown Town Court,  Grand View-On-Hudson Village Court, Haverstraw Town Court, Haverstraw Village Court, Hillburn Village Court, New Square Village Court, Nyack Village Court, Orangetown Town Court, Piermont Village Court, Ramapo Town Court, Rockland County Court, Rockland County Supreme Court - Criminal Term, Sloatsburg Village Court, South Nyack Village Court, Spring Valley Village Court, Stony Point Town Court, Suffern Village Court, Upper Nyack Village Court, Wesley Hills Village Court, West Haverstraw Village Court.  (for Rockland County address/phone number directory, click here).

Westchester County,  NY

Village of Ardsley, Town of Bedford, Town of Briarcliff, Village of Bronxville, Village of Buchanan, Town of Courtlandt, Town of Croton-On-Hudson, Village of Dobbs Ferry, Town of Eastchester, Village of Elmsford, Town of Greenburgh, Town of Harrison, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Village of Irvington, Village of Larchmont Village, Town of Lewisboro, Town of Mamaroneck, Village of Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Town of Mount Pleasant, City of Mount Vernon, Town of New Castle, City of New Rochelle, Town of North Castle, Town of North Salem, Town of Ossining, Village of Ossining, City of Peekskill, Town of Pelham, Village of Pleasantville, Village of Port Chester, Town of Pound Ridge, City of Rye, Town of Rye, Village of Scarsdale Village, Village of Sleepy Hollow, Town of Somers, Village of Tarrytown, Village of Tuckahoe, County of Westchester, City of White Plains, City of Yonkers, Town of Yorktown

Westchester County, NY - Courts Served:

Ardsley Village Court, Bedford Town Court, Briarcliff Manor Town Court, Bronxville Village Court, Buchanan Village Court, Cortlandt Town Court, Croton-On-Hudson Town Court, Dobbs Ferry Village Court, Eastchester Town Court, Elmsford Village Court, Greenburgh Town Court, Harrison Town Court, Hastings-on-Hudson Village Court, Irvington Village Court, Larchmont Village Court, Lewisboro Town Court, Mamaroneck Town Court, Mamaroneck Village Court, Mount Kisco Justice Court, Mount Pleasant Town Court, Mount Vernon City Court, New Castle Town Court, New Rochelle City Court, North Castle Town Court, North Salem Town Court, Ossining Town Court, Ossining Village Court, Peekskill City Court, Pelham Town Court, Pleasantville Village Court, Port Chester Village Court, Pound Ridge Town Court, Rye City Court, Rye Town Court, Scarsdale Village Court, Sleepy Hollow Village Court, Somers Town Court, Tarrytown Village Court, Tuckahoe Village Court, Westchester County Court, White Plains City Court, Yonkers City Court, Yorktown Town Court.  (for Westchester County address/phone number directory, click here).

Columbia County,  NY

Ancram Town Court, Austerlitz Town Court, Canaan Town Court, Chatham Town Court, Chatham Village Court, Claverack Town Court, Clermont Town Court, Columbia County Court, Copake Town Court, Gallatin Town Court, Germantown Town Court, Ghent Town Court, Greenport Town Court, Hillsdale Town Court, Hudson City Court, Kinderhook Town Court, Kinderhook Village Court, Livingston Town Court, New Lebanon Town Court, Philmont Village Court, Stockport Town Court, Stuyvesant Town Court, Taghkanic Town Court, Valatie Village Court. (for Columbia County address/phone number directory, click here).

Greene County,  NY

Ashland Town Court, Athens Town Court, Athens Village Court, Cairo Town Court, Catskill Town Court, Catskill Village Court, Coxsackie Town Court, Durham Town Court, Greene County Court, Greenville Town Court, Halcott Town Court, Hunter Town Court, Jewett Town Court, Lexington Town Court, New Baltimore Town Court, Prattsville Town Court, Tannersville Village Court, Windham Town Court.  (for Green County address/phone number directory, click here).

Highways With High Intensity  NYS State Police Activity

               NYS Thruway, I-87, I-84, Route 17, Taconic Parkway, Palisades Parkway, Route 209, Route 28, Route 6.