Tag Archives: drunk driving

That Selfie Can Wait! Don't Get Distracted on Prom Night

Distracted Driving during Prom Season is on the rise. We live in the age of the selfie, live video documentation and the constant fear of exclusion. And of course teens are on these social media apps even more on prom night. There’s nothing wrong with showing how much of a good time you’re having and showing off your ensembles. But there is an issue with doing it while driving! This becomes an even bigger problem if there is alcohol involved. According to research conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory and the Institute of Advanced Motorist the reaction time of a driver is slowed by 38% while using their smartphone, as opposed to the 12% of someone who has been drinking. When you’re distracted by your phone you could be looking away from the road for long periods of time and not even realize it. Sending a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, taking a selfie or creating a video takes even longer.

If your child is driving with their date or friends to prom or after prom activities make sure you talk to them about safe driving. Prom is no excuse to be on the phone while behind the wheel; if there is an absolute need to talk on the phone then pull over or give the passenger the phone to talk. And no matter how much fun they’re having singing along to music or how great they look there no need to Snapchat while driving or take pictures for Instagram. In 60 % of crashes nationwide, teen drivers were either chatting or looking at passengers in their vehicles or talking or texting on a cell phone seconds before collisions occurred, according to the study that analyzed five years’ worth of in-vehicle video data from nearly 1,700 crashes involving 16- to 19-year-olds. This is really a disturbing fact to read about but catastrophic if it happens to your family. Let this serve as reminder that looking down at a phone for even a second can be deadly.

According to the Pew Research Center 1 in 3 teens say they have texted while driving. A new study from AT&T, polling more than 2,000 people who use smartphones and drive at least once a day, shows nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving. Almost 3-in-10 surf the net, while a surprisingly 1-in-10 take it even further and video chat. Snapchat and Instagram are the main networks being used while driving. One of the reasons teen are on their phones 24/7 is because of the fear of exclusion. They’re always afraid they’ll miss some big social media moment or “the perfect opportunity to post”.

New York has a very strict law concerning cell phones and portable electronic devices – a conviction for a cell phone ticket can lead to heavy fines and a penalty of 5 points, the same as passing a stopped school bus or reckless driving. And if coupled with a DWI/DUI the ramifications could be even worse and lead to a license suspension. There are also potential increases in Insurance premiums following a conviction.

If your teen has received a summons for distracted driving in New York, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 or michaelblock.law@gmail.com . This type of summons should be handled right away and as an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer, I can fight for you.

Drunken Female Real Estate Agent Stole Yellow Cab in Manhattan

A drunken female real estate agent swiped a taxi when the cabby stopped at a Manhattan police station to report her boozed-up misbehavior — grabbing the wheel and taking off as he spoke to cops inside, authorities say.

Kinga Tabares, 27, who works for the Douglas Elliman agency, acted so wildly during the ride in the wee hours of Nov. 13 — even allegedly refusing to pay — that cabby Ronald Desir took her and a pal to the 13th Precinct station house, sources said Tuesday.

The 50-year-old driver picked up the women at Washington and Little West 12th streets, but their boozy buffoonery forced him to make the pit stop at the East 21st Street station house, according to the sources.

Tabares “was so drunk, she didn’t know where she was going,” Desir told The Post, adding that her friend was the “normal” one of the two.

While he was inside the station house asking for help, Tabares allegedly got in the driver’s seat and drove off.

“When I came back outside, they were taking off,” Desir said. When cops caught Tabares in Chelsea, she was vomiting out the driver’s window, the sources said.

The broker was charged with grand larceny, unauthorized use of a vehicle and DWI.

She was taken into custody and transported to Bellevue Hospital, where she allegedly refused to take a breath test.

When asked by The Post about the bust, Tabares — who is also taking classes at NYU — claimed that details about her stealing the cab were “completely false” and that “there’s more to this story.”

“I’m not speaking about it until there’s further investigation,” she said.

Tabares’ lawyer, Sean Parmenter, refused to comment any further and added that he was still looking into the case.

Article Originally Featured on the New York Post

*Photo Credit: NYC Taxi by Vinoth Chandar/Source: Flickr

A New York Woman Says Her Body is a Brewery, and Beats Drunk Driving Charges

A New York judge has dismissed a drunk driving charge against a woman who took steps to prove her body works as a brewery, using excess intestinal yeast to turn ordinary food into alcohol, resulting in breathalyzer readouts that generally would indicate life-threatening intoxication.

The excuse may sound bogus, but The Buffalo News reports elected Hamburg town Judge Walter Rooth found the woman’s claim compelling after she spent $7,000 working with a specialist to show her body sometimes meets the legal definition of drunkenness without actual alcohol intake.

“I would say it is not safe to drive a car if you are in an auto brewery syndrome flare,” Dr. Anup Kanodia of Ohio, an auto-brewery syndrome expert who monitored and tested the woman, told the News. “But it’s a brand new disease and we’re still trying to understand it.”

Kanodia told the paper, which did not name the woman, that he believes between 50 and 100 people have been diagnosed with the disorder, and that it’s likely upward of 95 percent of sufferers don’t know they have the condition.

Rooth dismissed the charges Dec. 9, but his decision has been slow to attract news coverage. The local prosecutor’s office plans to appeal Rooth’s decision, The News reports.

Spokespeople for the judge and the head of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office’s drunk driving division did not immediately return U.S. News requests for comment.

Flare-ups of Auto-Brewery Syndrome evidently are triggered in part by diets high in carbohydrates. Kanodia said he advised the woman to eat differently, alleviating her symptoms.

Though not widely known, the syndrome is beginning to attract media attention, with sufferers reporting bouts of goofiness after eating french fries and false accusations of alcoholism.

The BBC reported earlier this year that the condition may be connected to long-term antibiotic use and in at least two other cases appears to have been treated successfully with anti-fungal drugs and reduced consumption of carbohydrates and sugar.

The New York woman who shed — at least temporarily — her drunk driving charge is a 35-year-old teacher. Last year, she was arrested after a 911 tipster reported she was weaving. She reportedly was found driving on a flat tire with “glassy-bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.” She said she had three cocktails, but a breathalyzer found her blood alcohol content was .33 percent.

“Her tire was flat, and she felt she was close enough to home that she could drive the rest of the way,” the woman’s attorney, Joseph Marusak, told The News. “She can register a blood alcohol content that would have you or I falling down drunk, but she can function.”

Article Originally Featured on US News

Photo Credit: “Breath Test” by Oregon Department of Transportation/Source: Flickr

NY Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Crackdown on Drunk Driving Starts Today

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — State troopers and law enforcement across the state will be taking part in this year’s national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which begins Friday and runs through New Year’s Day.

Motorists will notice more patrols along highways and sobriety checkpoints during the campaign, state police said. Those are paid for by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Troopers will be using marked and unmarked vehicles to curb distracted driving, seat belt violations and people violating the Move Over Law.

“Traffic safety will be a top priority this holiday season,” New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said. “If you’re celebrating, please do so responsibly. Don’t drink and drive, and if you are drinking, designate a sober driver or plan ahead for a ride home.”

Last year troopers issued more than 49,000 tickets during the crackdown. That included 17,000 tickets for speeding, 1,700 for distracted driving and about 700 for Move Over Law violations.

State police said more than 700 people were arrested for DWI and 13 people were killed in car accidents.

The state police offered the following advice to motorists during the holidays:

–Plan a safe way home before the celebrating begins
–Before drinking, designate a sober driver
–If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation
–Use your community’s sober ride program
–If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact police
–If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements

Article Originally Featured on Syracuse.com

Photo Credit: “Breath Test” by Oregon Department of Transportation/Source: Flickr

Tips for Avoiding Traffic Tickets During the Thanksgiving Weekend

Are you Driving for Thanksgiving?

According to the American Safety Council, Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays for drivers.  46.9 million people are predicted to be on the roads this Thanksgiving.   The heaviest traffic is between 2PM and 5PM on Thanksgiving Day.

Traffic Tickets also increase around the holiday season.  Here are 3 simple ways to avoid being ticketed this Thanksgiving.

  • Avoid your Cellphone. You could easily receive a Cellphone ticket while fidgeting with your GPS, sending a quick text message, or even checking the time.  You can receive a summons for anything while holding your Cellphone.  If you absolutely need to use your it, use Bluetooth or any other hands-free system.  Better yet, pull over and shut off your engine before touching your device.

Here at the Law Office of Michael Block, we wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.  Drive carefully and call us if you receive any traffic tickets at (212) 227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com to learn about how we can defend your traffic violations.

*Photo Credit: “Northbound I-405 rush hour” By: Oran Viryincy/(Source: Flickr)

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DWI Charges Reduced to 0 Point Non-Criminal Offense in Queens

Another happy client had a DWI—Driving While Intoxicated in Queens Criminal Court Reduced to a 0 Point DWAI—Driving While Ability Impaired.  Our client was stopped and charged with a DWI when they gave the police officer probable cause to stop them and test their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) using a breathalyzer test.

Any driver over the age of 21 can be charged with a DWI if their BAC or blood alcohol content is .08 % or greater.  Underage drivers can be charged if their BAC is .02 % and commercial/motor drivers can be charged if their BAC is at least .04%.

Our client’s charge was reduced to a DWAI offense.  The DWAI offense is the lowest offense for alcohol and drug related charges.  This is the only alcohol related charge that is merely a traffic violation (not a criminal offense).  Thus, our client will not have a criminal record or license points.

Cop Driving in Deadly Staten Island Crash Had BAC Three Times Legal Limit

The New Jersey police officer, who hit a tractor-trailer head-on on a Staten Island highway last month, killing a fellow officer and a friend and critically injuring a third cop, had a blood alcohol content of .24 percent, three times the legal limit, law enforcement sources say.

Authorities had obtained a warrant to test Pedro Abad Jr.’s blood-alcohol content following the March 20 wrong-way crash on the West Shore Expressway.

The NYPD, who’s investigating the crash, had no comment on the toxicology results. A message was left with the Linden police officers’ union, and Abad’s lawyer had no comment, saying only his client was in the process of hiring a new attorney.

Abad, 27, was driving his fellow officers and friend on the wrong side of the expressway on the way back from a strip club when his vehicle slammed into the tractor-trailer, authorities said.

Hours before the crash, Abad had posted a photo on his Instagram page of three shot glasses filled with what he identified as “Jack Daniels Fire on the house.” Authorities said at the time it was “too premature” to speculate on what caused the accident.

Public records show Abad has been involved in eight accidents since 2005 and has two arrests for drunken driving in the last four years.

Abad was hospitalized in critical condition following the crash, which killed fellow Linden officer Frank Viggiano and friend Joseph Rodriguez.

Patrik Kudlac, another Linden cop riding in Abad’s Honda, was also hospitalized in critical condition after the crash.

The Union County prosecutor’s office has said it would hand off the probe into the driving record and employment history of Abad to avoid the perception of any conflicts of interest. The state attorney general’s office said the investigation will be handled by the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office.

Article Originally Posted on NBC New York

*Photo Credit: “NYPD Tron” By: Lee/Source: Flickr

Long Island Woman Faces DWI and Leandra's Law Charges

A Long Island woman faces a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated after she was involved in an accident while her 3-year-old son rode along as a passenger, police said Sunday.

Cristi Rivas was driving a 2007 Mercedes Benz SUV south in Wheatley Heights Saturday evening when she rear-ended a car driven by Khizar Kharam, Suffolk County investigators said.

Rivas, 38, of Dix Hills, and Kharam, 63, sustained minor injuries and were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, police said. Rivas’ toddler also was taken to the hospital for evaluation, but didn’t appear to be injured.

Rivas was charged with aggravated DWI because her passenger was less than 15 years old, a violation of Leandra’s Law. She was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Her son was released to a family member, police said.

There was no information as to whether Rivas had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.

Article Originally Posted on NBC New York

*Photo Credit: “Drunk Driving Among US College Students Still at an Alarming Rate” By: James Palinsad/Source: Flickr

Uber Expands to College Towns in Upstate New York to Curb Drunk Driving

Uber Moves to College Towns in Upstate New York to Curb Drunk Driving

As part of the ride-hailing service Uber’s push to expand to upstate New York, it has a specific message for college students: We want to help you get home safely after a night of drinking.

The company’s app is popular among millennials, but it is not available in upstate college towns. Uber officials hope the State Legislature will pass new rules allowing the service to move beyond New York City next year.

Despite its many fans, Uber has faced legal problems in the United States and abroad, and criticism over its aggressive tactics. As part of the company’s efforts to adopt a softer tone, officials have said the service can help reduce drunken driving.

Josh Mohrer, the general manager of Uber NY, spoke at the state Capitol on Tuesday in favor of expanding the ride-sharing service into the Albany area. A Push to Use Ride Sharing to Drive Economic Growth in Upstate New York.

Travis Kalanick, chief of Uber, last month in Munich. He spoke about compromising with regulators he once sparred with.   Some students are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Uber and other ride-hailing apps like Lyft. At Syracuse University, Aysha Seedat, the student association president, has recently called attention to the need for the apps in the city. When students leave bars late at night, she said, many are

Friends toast at P.J. Wheelman’s after using the program in Evesham, where local officials said drunken driving had increased.

Over the summer while she was home in northern New Jersey, where Uber operates, Ms. Seedat and her friends used the app instead of trying to figure out who would drive home.

“We’re going to take an Uber, and we’re not going to take any chances,” Ms. Seedat, a 21-year-old senior who is studying public policy, said.

In the next few weeks, the university’s student assembly plans to vote on a resolution to support new ride-hailing legislation. Ms. Seedat has talked to students at other universities, including Rochester Institute of Technology and the State University of New York at Buffalo, about sending a joint letter to state legislators arguing that the services would improve safety.

This month, Uber began offering free rides home from bars in Evesham Township in southern New Jersey, a community where local officials said drunken driving had increased. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., residents can request a ride from Uber or another ride service, and the township will pay for them through Jan. 2.

“If you feel that you’re not capable of driving home, we’re going to make it really, really simple for you,” the township’s mayor, Randy Brown, said at a news conference this month.

In New York, Long Island is known for having among the highest number of alcohol-related crashes in the state. A crash this summer in Suffolk County, in which a man was charged with driving while intoxicated after hitting and killing four young women riding in a limousine, brought renewed attention to the problem.

About four out of five alcohol-related crashes in the state happened outside New York City in 2013, despite the city’s huge share of the population, according to state data. The counties that include Buffalo and Rochester, where a number of colleges are, also have among the highest number of crashes.

Donald Hallowell, 46, an Uber driver participating in the Evesham program.

The state chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving plans to lobby for a ride-hailing bill during the next legislative session, which begins in January. Richard Mallow, the group’s state executive director, said the apps reach young people where they spend much of their time — on their smartphones.

Last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, signaled that he wanted to create a statewide licensing system for ride-hailing companies. As Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, quarreled with Uber this summer over his proposal to cap the number of for-hire vehicles in New York City, Mr. Cuomo praised the company for creating jobs.

But taxi groups and others have questioned whether the company creates good-paying jobs. Uber says its drivers are independent contractors, but several recent local rulings have said that they should be considered employees. Opponents have also argued that new state rules could remove current consumer and driver protections in the industry.

Not all students support the effort. Stony Brook University on Long Island already has plenty of safe travel options for students who are drinking, including a reliable local taxi service called Lindy’s, said Cole Lee, the president of the university’s undergraduate student government. Mr. Lee, 20, who lives on campus and owns a car, has never used Uber.

“Although it sounds nice, I can’t say that I could see it being extremely successful here,” he said.

In Buffalo, a blog and apparel company called Rise Collaborative recently started an online petition calling for ride-hailing apps in upstate New York, and many college students have signed on. The founders of the blog and Ms. Seedat said they were not prompted by Uber officials to take up the cause — they simply see a need for it.

The mayor of Syracuse, Stephanie A. Miner, a Democrat, said she wanted Uber in her city and believed the competition could prompt local car services to improve.

“There is a big need for it here,” she said, “and I think you’re seeing particularly among young people an expectation to have Uber.”

Article Originally Featured on The New York Times

*Photo Credit: “51920006” By: Samantha Cohen/Source: Flickr

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Drunk Driver in Patchogue, Long Island Charged with DWI after Slamming Into Family Car Twice

Drunk Driver in Patchogue, Long Island Charged with DWI after Slamming Into a Car Twice

Article Originally Posted on NBC New York

An alleged drunk driver slammed into another vehicle twice on Long Island in a shocking scene that was captured on dash cam video. And now members of the family who posted the dash cam video say they feared for their lives.

Linda Spina, 53, of Selden, was driving drunk along Woodside Avenue in Patchogue around 4:30 p.m. Thursday when she made a wide right turn onto North Ocean Avenue, police said. Dash cam video of the turn shows Spina’s Honda accelerates over a curb before knocking over a sign and crashing into a car stopped at a traffic light.

In the video, a woman who appears to be an off-duty emergency responder asks the family in the struck car if they’re alright. She then yells at Spina several times: “Put your car in park!”

Spina then drives in reverse out of the dash cam’s sight. But she appears seconds later, accelerating and nearly hitting the emergency responder before smashing head-on into the car for a second time.

Shocking dash cam video shows an alleged drunk driver slam into a car before backing up and accelerating into it again. The video was originally posted to YouTube by the family in the car that was hit. (Published Friday, Oct. 9, 2015)

NBC New York spoke with the family in the car, including the mother of the children heard screaming in the video. She said her whole life flashed before her like in the movies and that she thought for a second they would all die. Her husband was on the phone with her at the time and thought he had lost them.

The family installed the dash cam after a minor accident last year in which they couldn’t prove the other driver was at fault.

Spina was charged with DWI–Driving While Intoxicated. She was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center following the accident and was arraigned Friday in Central Islip.

*Photo Credit: “Drunk Driving Among US College Students Still at an Alarming Rate” By: James Palinsad/Source: Flickr

Blood-Alcohol Estimates Questioned In Drunken-Driving Cases, Including In Deadly Long Island Crash

Blood-Alcohol Estimates Questioned In Drunken-Driving Cases, Including In Deadly Long Island Crash

Original Article Featured on CBS

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The way prosecutors see it, Oneil Sharpe Jr. was drunk when he raced down a Long Island highway at nearly 100 mph this summer and slammed into a car carrying a family home from a church gathering, causing a fiery wreck that killed a father and his two children.

Sharpe’s blood-alcohol reading, taken about four hours later, was 0.06 percent — below the legal threshold of 0.08. But he was still charged with drunken driving and vehicular homicide because a forensic technique estimated that his blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash actually was 0.12.

That technique, known as “retrograde extrapolation,” has been used to win convictions nationwide for decades, but has increasingly come under scrutiny by drunken-driving experts as an unreliable measure of a person’s intoxication. Some defense attorneys have even labeled it junk science.

“Government lawyers and puppet scientists know retrograde extrapolation is hogwash and will say so when it benefits them, but mostly they pretend otherwise because it is useful in gaining convictions,” said D. Timothy Huey, a Columbus, Ohio, attorney specializing in drunken-driving cases.

“Retrograde extrapolation is about as scientifically reliable as astrology,” added Jonathan Manley, a former prosecutor who is representing Sharpe in the Long Island crash. “It relies on the assumption that a person’s blood-alcohol content peaked prior to the arrest without any basis to prove that.”

Sharpe pleaded not guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, leaving the scene and driving while intoxicated. He also is charged with having 23 fraudulent credit cards in his vehicle.

While there are no national statistics to document the use of retrograde extrapolation, prosecutors in many states, including New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado and Illinois, have offered evidence of estimated intoxication levels at trial. But courts in some other states have severely restricted its use, requiring prosecutors to use only the blood-alcohol readings taken at the time of a person’s arrest.

“The general rule in virtually every state is that it is up to a jury to decide its relevance,” said attorney Patrick Barone, who has written a textbook titled “Defending Drinking Drivers” and teaches a class at Western Michigan University’s law school that includes a two-hour lecture on retrograde extrapolation.

“I challenge it every time it comes up,” Barone said. “Juries are too frequently bedazzled by science because science as a whole is not well understood or taught.”

In the Long Island case this summer on the Southern State Parkway, the 24-year-old Sharpe wasn’t tested immediately, because a friend allegedly whisked him away from the scene. Prosecutors believe Sharpe fled because he knew he was drunk, and they bolstered their case by releasing a cellphone video purportedly showing him tossing a bottle of tequila into the woods after the crash.

Prosecutors who have used retrograde extrapolation swear by it as a proven technique that doesn’t reward drunken-driving suspects for fleeing the scene and avoiding immediate blood-alcohol testing.

“It’s been standard procedure for many years in many states across the country,” said Beadle County, South Dakota, State’s Attorney Michael Moore, a past president of the National District Attorneys Association. “It’s been proven to be reliable and upheld by courts all across the country.”

It was most famously, if not successfully, used after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989, when Capt. Joseph Hazelwood was given a blood test 10 1/2 hours after the grounding and recorded a 0.06. A toxicologist estimated his reading at the time of the accident was 0.14.

Hazelwood was ultimately convicted of negligent discharge of oil and fined $50,000, but was cleared of charges of being drunk.

Experts say the intoxicating effects of alcohol are not experienced until it is absorbed into the bloodstream. After a person stops drinking, the blood-alcohol level peaks when the most alcohol has been absorbed and the least amount of alcohol has been eliminated.

Defense attorneys argue alcohol absorption and elimination rates vary widely depending on a person’s gender, drinking habits, the type of beverage, what a person ate and how much, and whether a person had experienced trauma, which sometimes slows the rate.

Leonard R. Stamm, a Maryland attorney and dean of the National College for DUI Defense, said prosecutors should avoid retrograde extrapolation “unless they’re able to line up every conceivable factor, and I don’t know that they’re ever able to do that.”

Mary Catherine McMurray, a forensic expert who once worked for the Wisconsin state patrol, says she has seen increased use of retrograde extrapolation in the past five years, but cautions “the further away from a person’s last drink, the less useful retrograde is, and prosecutors usually have to take the word of the person on when that last drink occurred.”

“It’s hard for me to call it junk science, because it’s got merits,” she said, “but I understand why people say it is junk science.”

Photo Credit: “Breath Test” by Oregon Department of Transportation/Source: Flickr

An Unlicensed Drunk Driver Charged with a DWI in Southampton After Fleeing Scene of an Accident

Article Originally Posted on Patch

An East Hampton man was arrested on a DWI charge after he left the scene of an accident in Southampton last Wednesday night, according to Southampton Town Police.

Police received a 911 call of a car accident where the car left the scene eastbound on County Road 39 at about 6:48 p.m., according to police.

Officers found and stopped the car on County Road 39A, police said.

The driver of the car was identified as Jose Reyes, 25, and he was found to be drunk, according to police.

He was arrested and charged with first degree aggravated unlicensed operation, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, and open alcohol in a motor vehicle, police said.

Reyes was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and held for morning arraignment.

Everything You Should Know About DUI and DWI

Drinking and driving can be a dangerous and costly combination.  In New York, about 90,000 DWI-related arrests are made every year.  The 4 common drug and alcohol related offences are:

  1. DWI—Driving While Intoxicated

A driver is usually stopped and charged with a DWI when they give an officer probable cause, such as swerving, to test their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) using a breathalyzer test. Any driver over the age of 21 can be charged with a DWI if their BAC or blood alcohol content is .08 % or greater.  Underage drivers can be charged if their BAC is .02 % and commercial/motor drivers can be charged if their BAC is at least.04%.

  1. DWAI—Driving While Ability Impaired

The DWAI offense is the lowest offense for alcohol and drug related charges.  This is the only alcohol related charge that is merely a traffic violation.  Individuals charged with a DWI sometimes get their charges reduced to DWAI.  Their attorney might work with a District Attorney to settle for this lesser charge.  The success of being offered a DWAI depends on the facts and circumstances of the case and whether or not this is a repeated offense.  A conviction will lead to a 90 day license suspension and fines.

  1. ADWI—Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated

The ADWI can be given to any driver with a BAC of .18% or greater.  This type of charge can lead to fines, license suspension, and even jail time.  The ADWI can sometimes be reduced to a DWI depending on the driver’s case.  Although the initial ADWI is considered a misdemeanor, any repeated ADWI is considered a felony.

  1. DWAI-D—Driving While Ability Impaired-Drugs

A driver can be charged with a DWAI-D if they drive after consuming illegal or prescription drugs.  Usually a chemical test, which requires a blood or urine sample, is administered after an accident occurs to determine the presence of drugs in the driver’s body.

If you have received a traffic ticket for a DUI, DWI or any other alcohol and drug related offences, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com to learn more about how we can defend you.

*Photo Credit: “Beer Bottle – DUI” By: New York Lawyers/Source: Flickr

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New York Ranks 30th in Country for DUI Strictness

A new study examined the strictest and most lenient states in the country for DUI, and New York State came in at number 30. This is due to the fact that first and second time DUI (or DWAI, Driving While Ability Impaired) offenses do not require a minimum of jail time. After the second offense, any DUIs are considered felony crimes. This differs from other states in the country like Arizona where the minimum jail sentence for a first time DUI offense is 10 days. In New York, a DUI conviction will be reflected on your criminal record and your driver’s license is likely to be suspended.

The study claims that 10,000 Americans die due to DUI and DWI incidents – in 2012, 31% of all traffic fatalities were caused by DUI and DWI.

If you are arrested for DUI, DWAI, or DWI in New York, please call us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we may begin working on your defense.

Long Beach Cracks Down on Drunk Drivers

This weekend, Long Beach will be aggressively targeting drunk drivers during the annual fireworks show and arts and crafts festival. Police took a similar stance last weekend for the Fourth of July holiday, and that increased vigilance led to 10 DWI arrests. 8 of those 10 drivers arrested were from out-of-town, which seems to be the common theme of Long Beach DWI arrests. Three roving police cars will join the town’s regular police patrol in order to enforce this crackdown. Last week, about 250 cars were stopped for DWI checks. If you are arrested for DWI, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we may begin working on your defense.

Long Island Man Arrested under Leandra’s Law

A Garden City man was arrested this weekend after a car accident in West Hempstead. Police officers who arrived at the scene arrested the driver for drunk driving, and since the man’s 2-year old child was in the car, the driver was charged under Leandra’s Law. Leandra’s Law states that driving while intoxicated with a passenger under 16 is a felony offense in New York, even if it is the driver’s first DWI offense. Nassau County and Suffolk County lead the state in Leandra’s Law arrests, with over 600 arrests since the law’s inception in 2009.

If you have been charged with DWI, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we can begin working on your defense.

Long Island Driver Arrested for DWI, Leandra’s Law

A driver was arrested for DWI this weekend in Nassau County at the scene of a three-car accident. Because the driver had 3 passengers under the age of 16 in the car at the time, he has been charged under Leandra’s Law, which means he is now facing 3 felony charges of DWI. In addition, he has been charged with three counts of child endangerment, excessive tinted windows, and 3 counts of having passengers under the age of 4 unrestrained in the back of a vehicle, which carries a penalty of 3 points for each seat belt violation.

If you are charged with DWI on Long Island or anywhere in New York State, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we can begin working on your defense – don’t delay!

Long Island Traffic Lawyer - Distracted Driving can be Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Everyone knows that driving while intoxicated is one of the most dangerous things a person could do, but what about driving while you have to go to the bathroom? Or driving while daydreaming? Numerous studies have been conducted that show how some of these other activities can be just as dangerous as drunk driving:

Drowsiness and Congestion

Sleeping while drowsy can be brought on by either not having enough sleep or taking medication such as sleeping pills or muscle relaxers before you drive. The TV show Mythbusters conducted a test that showed driving after being awake for 30 hours to be 10 times as dangerous as driving after having 2 drinks. Studies have also shown that teenagers are less likely to pull over and take a nap if they are feeling tired than adults. As far as medication is concerned, many drivers don’t realize that driving after taking a sleeping pill or other medication that causes drowsiness could lead to them being arrested for DUI – Driving Under the Influence. The FDA mandates that warnings be put on all bottles that contain sleeping pills to let drivers know the danger they face if they get in the car after taking the pills. Many times, drivers will take non-drowsy cough or cold medicine to get through the day – but a recent study found that motorists who drive with the flu or a bad head cold have their reaction time cut in half, which is about the same as those who drank 4 shots of double whiskey. Even more disturbing though is that almost half of all drivers have driven while sick.

Cell Phones

Research has shown that texting while driving can be twice as dangerous as drunk driving. Other studies report that texting while driving can be four to six times as distracting as drunk driving. A texting ticket in New York carries 5 points, which is one of the highest point tickets you can receive in New York. However, it does not carry a criminal charge like DWI or DUI. And while it is still legal to speak on a hands-free phone while driving, studies tend to agree that talking on the phone, whether hands-free or not, is still an extremely dangerous practice. A University of Utah study found that drivers with a .08 BAL actually drove better than those who were on a phone. In fact, during the course of the study, three drivers who were using hands-free phones actually crashed into their pace cars. The issue may not be so much about what is in your hands, but rather what is on your mind.

Road Rage and Arguments

Driving while angry increases the chances of speeding, weaving and out of lanes, tailgating, and engaging in other aggressive driving behaviors. All of these things combined have killed anywhere from two to four times as many people as drunk driving. Road rage can cause drivers to act in ways they normally wouldn’t and can cause many problems on the road. While road rage is directed at drivers in other cars, arguments with people inside your car can be just as dangerous. Whether it’s on the phone or with your spouse sitting next to you, these arguments can lead to unsafe speeds and delayed reactions. A study in England found that drivers arguing with their spouse over the phone fared slightly better than those who were arguing in person, with the thought being that it is easier to ignore your spouse over the phone. Nonetheless, just like road rage, arguing with a spouse leads to distracted driving, which in turn can lead to auto fatalities.

Other Distractions

The next time you are on a long road trip, you may want to take advantage of rest areas to relieve yourself. A recent study had volunteers drink many glasses of water and then take basic cognitive tests – without being allowed to use the restroom. The results showed that people who have to use the bathroom performed just as poorly as those with a .05 Blood Alcohol Level, or 2 ½ drinks. Researchers determined that this was a form of distracted driving, since your mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Another thing common to long road trips – or even heavy traffic on your commute – is daydreaming. An analysis of distracted driving fatalities that occurred over a 2-year period – roughly 6,500 – showed that 62% involved daydreaming. This percentage is even higher than texting or talking on a cell phone.

On a side note

This may seem like common sense, but you probably should not drive if you have been smoking marijuana. Legal marijuana use is growing in the United States, whether it’s through state-legalization efforts or medical use and proponents say that driving under the influence of marijuana is relatively safe. This is because drivers who smoke marijuana tend to drive slower and pass field sobriety tests. However, the fact still remains that marijuana causes a delay in reaction time for drivers, which is extremely dangerous since drivers are required to make split-second decisions while on the road. The American Journal of Epidemiology found that marijuana use was present in 10% of all auto fatalities over the past decade. Police officers can charge drivers who are under the effects of marijuana with DUI, which is a criminal charge.

All of the actions listed above are forms of distracted driving – a practice so bad that there is a month (April) known as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Even so, all throughout the year police officers often engage in week or month-long crackdowns to combat distracted driving. Reaction times are cut, sometimes in half, which can lead to rear end accidents, running stop signs or stop lights, or driving at unsafe speeds.

If you receive a speeding ticket, cell phone ticket, or are arrested for DWI or DUI, please contact us immediately so we can begin working on your case and help you achieve the best outcome possible.

Long Island Driver Arrested for Driving Drunk while on a Cell Phone

A driver was pulled over in Hampton Bays this weekend after police observed him tailgating and using a cell phone without a hands-free device. Upon stopping the driver, police officers determined him to be intoxicated and unlicensed. He was charged with DWI and operating without a license, which are both criminal charges. He was also ticketed for following too closely and operating a vehicle while using a cell phone.

A DWI conviction can result in heavy fines, driver’s license suspension, and extra penalties in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. An unlicensed operation conviction could result in heavy fines and possible jail time, though the jail sentence is very unlikely. A following too closely ticket carries a penalty of 4 points on a driver’s license, while a cell phone ticket has a penalty of 5 points.

If you receive traffic tickets on Long Island, or if you are charged with DWI or unlicensed operation, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we can begin working on your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Could Drunk Driving Become a Thing of the Past?

The Department of Transportation has recently unveiled plans for technology that would allow automobiles to tell if a driver is drunk when he or she gets in the car – and then stop them from starting the car. Two different systems are being developed: one that can detect the presence of alcohol via touchpads, which may be on either the steering wheel or push button ignitions, and one which works like a breathalyzer test when a driver gets in the car. Officials hope that one or both of these technologies will be available in automobiles by the end of the decade.

Will this new technology help to bring about the end of drunk driving? Or do you see problems with the technology not working right, such as not allowing sober drivers to start their cars?

Nearly 4,000 Drivers Banned for Life after DWI Convictions

Since adopting harsher penalties for drunk drivers three years ago, New York State has permanently revoked nearly 4,000 drivers’ licenses for serial offenders. Since late 2012, New York has been suspending licenses of those with 3 DWI convictions over the past 25 years – this led to the suspension of over 7,500 licenses. Drivers with 3 DWI convictions over the past 25 years in addition to other serious violations, such as causing a fatal accident or receiving 20 points on their licenses, may also face a permanent driving ban.

A driver’s license suspension means that the person cannot legally drive during the period of the suspension, while a revocation means that the person’s driving privileges have been cancelled and they will have to reapply for a license at the end of the revocation period.

If you are charged with drunk driving or receive any traffic tickets in New York, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so that we can start working on your case and fight to help you avoid losing your driving privileges.

Long Island Traffic Lawyer: Rules for the Roadways and the Waterways

It’s that time of year again where people start getting their boats ready to go out on the water. Summer is a fun time of the year, and one of the best ways to spend it is out on the water. But a lot of people think that taking a boat out on the water will subject them to less rules than when they take a car out on the road – this is wrong! Many of the same rules apply on the waterways that apply on the roadways, including speeding laws, unlicensed operation laws, drug and alcohol laws, and reckless operation laws.

Everyone thinks of speed limits on roads and highways, but did you know that speeding laws can be even stricter on the water? For example, no wake zones impose a 5 mph speed limit on all boats – these usually are in place in areas such as canals where the passageway is narrow and the wake caused by boats can send other boats careening into the walls. The 5 mph speed limit also applies to 100-200ft off the shore, docks, pier, rafts, floats, and anchored boats. There are also 45 mph and 25 mph speed limits in Long Island waters for the daytime and nighttime. Some local municipalities have their own speed limits and if there are no speed limits posted, boaters must operate in a manner that does not endanger other boaters. Boaters are also responsible for any damage caused by their wakes. Just like on the roads and highways, boaters can receive speeding tickets from the Coast Guard or Bay Constables if they violate the speeding laws.

Unlicensed Operation
On Long Island, drivers must possess a driver’s license or a permit in order to operate an automobile. The rule is almost the same on Long Island for boats: all individuals born after 5/1/1996 must successfully complete an approved course in boater education in order to operate a boat. After completing the safety course, boaters will receive a boating safety certificate that they must have anytime they operate a boat. New York has made this a little bit easier on boaters as they can now have the safety certificate displayed on their driver’s license or state issued ID as an anchor icon. If convicted of operating a boat without a safety certificate, boaters can be fined anywhere from $100 to $250 for the first offense and, while not likely, can face jail time of no more than 7 days. The fines and penalties increase for subsequent offenses. Driving a motor vehicle on Long Island without a license can result in a misdemeanor charge if convicted and can also bring about heavy fines and penalties.

Just the same as DWI laws, Long Island has BWI laws – Boating While Intoxicated. Most of the same rules apply to BWI as DWI – boaters cannot have a Blood Alcohol Level higher than .08, and if convicted, boaters can be subject to heavy fines, penalties, and even the possibility of jail time. A person can also lose their boat operating privileges if convicted of BWI, though they will not lose their driving privileges. Marine officers making a BWI stop often use the same tactics and equipment to make as they would in a DWI stop, including a field sobriety test and a chemical test. If a boater refuses a chemical test, their boating privileges can be immediately suspended pending a hearing regarding the refusal. This is the same thing for drivers, as they must attend a Refusal Hearing if they do not submit to a chemical test administered by a police officer. New York has an “Implied Consent” law, which means that drivers and boaters alike give up their right to refuse a chemical test by getting behind the wheel of a car or a boat. BWI convictions range from misdemeanors to felonies for repeat offenders and could end up costing thousands of dollars in fines and fees.

Reckless Operation
A reckless driving conviction on Long Island can have a huge, negative impact. Besides heavy fines, a penalty of 5 points on your license, and the possibility of losing your driver’s license, a reckless driving conviction will also give you a criminal record because it is a misdemeanor offense. The same is true for the boating equivalent – reckless operation. Reckless operation covers a lot of different boating violations, including speeding in a crowded area, operating too close to swimmers or dams, overloading a boat, riding the wake in a dangerous area, and disrupting regattas or parades. Just like in a motor vehicle, reckless operation can have dangerous consequences for boaters and their passengers, so please obey all rules of the water.

Boating and driving may seem like two very different activities, but they share a lot of similarities when it comes to the types of offenses that can lead to heavy fines, suspended licenses, and even possibly criminal charges.

99 DWI Charges on Long Island over Memorial Day Weekend

As reported last week, police were on the lookout for drunk drivers during Memorial Day weekend. As a result, 99 DWI arrests were made over the weekend, which is down from 2014 and 2013 when police made 128 arrests and 132 arrests, respectively. 56 DWI arrests occurred in Nassau County while 43 arrests were made in Suffolk County.

Nassau County will be stepping up their enforcement of DWI offenses for the remainder of the summer by utilizing asset forfeiture funds to pay for roughly 5,000 of overtime and money from the state’s “STOP DWI” grant program.

If you are arrested for DWI on Long Island, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we may begin working on your defense.

Nassau, Suffolk Police Increasing DWI Patrols for Memorial Day Weekend

Long Island police will be heavily patrolling for DWI starting this weekend, with Nassau County leading the charge by assigning $400,000 worth of overtime to watch for drunk drivers throughout the summer. The Nassau police Selective Enforcement Team typically handles DWI patrols, but more patrol officers will help with the patrols to the tune of 5,000 overtime hours. These overtime hours are paid for by asset forfeiture funds, meaning that taxpayer money will not be used to pay for the overtime. In addition, Nassau police as well as Hempstead, Garden City, Port Washington, Rockville Centre, and Old Westbury police will split $180,000 in state grants for increased DWI patrols this summer. Suffolk police will also increase DWI patrols over the weekend using state grant money.

Nassau County police have been aggressively going after drunk drivers – so far in 2015, over 700 DWI arrests have been made, while 2,477 DWI arrests were made in 2014. The acting District Attorney has also called for the DMV to add points to the licenses of driver’s convicted of DWI, though the DMV responded by saying that all licenses are suspended or revoked if the driver is convicted of any drug or alcohol related offense. Long Island drivers convicted of DWI also face large fines, additional fees in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment, and may also be sent to jail.

If you are charged with DWI this summer, please contact us at 212-227-9008 to see how we can help you with your defense.

Two DWI Charges on Long Island; Leandra’s Law Offense and Head-On Accident

Two incidents occurred on Long Island this weekend involving drunk driving: a Leandra’s Law violation in Nassau County and a head-on accident with a police officer in Suffolk County.

In Oceanside, a driver rear-ended a vehicle and upon investigation by police officers was observed to have glassy, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol. The police officers arrested the driver for aggravated unlicensed operation, endangering the welfare of a child, and aggravated driving while intoxicated under Leandra’s Law because the man’s one month old son was in the car. Leandra’s Law makes driving while intoxicated with a passenger 15 years old or younger a Class E Felony. These charges carry heavy fines and the possibility of jail time.

In Mattituck, an officer observed a driver drifting onto the opposite side of the highway in his direction – he stopped his cruiser, but the other driver hit his car head on. The officer managed to stop the driver and take away his car keys, and was then treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. The other driver was charged with a felony DWI.
If you are arrested for drunk driving on Long Island, please contact us as soon as possible.

We will negotiate your release and start working on your defense immediately. Call us at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.lawywer@gmail.com.

Long Island Man Charged with DWI, Reckless Driving

A Long Island man is in custody for driving drunk and hitting a man pushing his grandson in a stroller this past weekend. Both the grandfather and his grandson suffered minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital. Police charged the driver with DWI, reckless driving, and failure to use care to avoid a pedestrian, as well as two counts of assault. The driver’s blood alcohol level was .08, which is the state standard for intoxication.

DWI and reckless driving are both misdemeanor offenses, and if convicted the driver will have these on his criminal record. In addition, reckless driving is a 5 point ticket, while the failure to use care to avoid a pedestrian ticket carries can add 3 points to a driver’s license. A DWI conviction can lead to numerous fines and penalties, as well as extra payment in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment.

If you are arrested for DWI or receive traffic tickets on Long Island, please contact us at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help you.

Nassau DWI Attorney: The Dangers of DWI / DUI

There have recently been quite a few cases of DWI in Nassau, such as two drivers charged with drunk driving who were involved in an accident while driving separate vehicles, or the Brooklyn man who was charged with drunk driving and reaching speeds of over 130 MPH before crashing and killing his passenger. Drunk driving in Nassau is vigorously prosecuted as part of Leandra’s Law, which increases the penalties for motorists who are convicted of driving drunk with passengers aged 15 or younger. But what are the real consequences you face if convicted of DWI in Nassau?

Loss of Driving Privileges
Every Nassau drunk driving conviction comes with a mandatory license revocation or suspension, which can be anywhere from 90 days to 18 months. A revocation means that the license has been cancelled for a certain amount of time and you must reapply to have the license reinstated, while a suspension means that you cannot legally operate a vehicle for a period of time. In addition to fees and surcharges, you will face loss of income if your job requires you to have a valid driver’s license. You may also lose your license if you refuse to submit to a chemical test administered by a police officer at the time of arrest. These consequences may be avoided or lessened through representation by a Nassau DWI / DUI lawyer.

Criminal Record
A DWI conviction in Nassau will cause you to have a criminal record. This may impact your ability to find employment, your credit score, and also your ability to vote. Worst of all, it could lead to jail time. DWI convictions range from misdemeanors to Class D Felonies, and you can be sent to jail from anywhere between 15 days and 7 years. A DWI conviction can be a life altering event, so please contact a Nassau DWI lawyer to explore your options.

Monetary Penalties
A DWI conviction in Nassau can carry particularly heavy fines depending on the severity of the offense and can also be impacted by the amount of DWIs on your record. There are many different penalties for drug and alcohol offenses in Nassau, which you can find at the NY DMV website. For example, if you are convicted of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated three times within 10 years, you can expect to pay fines up to $10,000 for the third offense, which will need to be paid along with court costs, surcharges, and fees to reinstate driving privileges. In addition, you will need to pay the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment fee, which is $750 over the course of three years for all drug and alcohol convictions. Your insurance premiums will also increase exponentially with a DWI conviction, as auto insurance companies take drunk driving charges very seriously. A DWI in Nassau can end up costing you thousands of dollars in both the short and long term, and it is in your best interest to contact a Nassau DWI attorney.

A DWI conviction can have a serious impact on your finances, your record, and your overall quality of life. If you are arrested for DWI, contact a Nassau DWI attorney immediately. The attorney will work to secure your release from jail and will immediately begin working on your defense and providing counsel during your arraignment. Please contact us at 212-227-9008 to fight your DWI charge or any other traffic tickets you may receive.

Two Long Island Drivers Charged with DWI over the Weekend

Two drivers in Suffolk were charged with DWI this weekend, though both incidents occurred under very different circumstances. The first driver attempted to evade police officers by driving the wrong way down Route 48 in Cutchogue before eventually stopping. She is charged with felony driving while intoxicated, and in all likelihood will also face other traffic tickets such as Driving in the Wrong Direction, a 3 point ticket.

The other driver was arrested and charged with violating Leandra’s Law because his 9-year-old daughter was a passenger in the car. It was also determined that he had been involved in a hit-and-run earlier in the night, which thankfully did not result in any injuries. The driver is charged with driving while ability impaired, endangering the welfare of a child, and leaving the scene of a reportable accident.

If you are charged with DWI, DWAI, or DUI on Long Island, please contact us immediately so we can negotiate your release and begin working on your defense. Please call us at 212-227-9008 or visit us at michaelblocklawyer.com.