Interviewer: Okay. So what if someone has been charged with DWI and they’re facing two cases actually; the DMV problems and then the criminal side of it. Right?
Eric: Every DWI case has collateral consequences. That’s why it’s so important for people to pick a lawyer, when they choose a lawyer, to find a lawyer who really focuses on DWI. If not, they might miss some of the important things, such as that second case; the DMV issue. Anybody who is accused of refusing to take a breath test, or a chemical test, will have a separate test, a separate case in the Department of Motor Vehicles, regarding whether or not they knowingly refused to take this test and that will have license ramifications.
For instance, if you are found to have refused, then you can lose your license for up to one year. But even if you submit to tests, anybody who is convicted of a DWI case will have license ramifications, whether it’s a drive while intoxicated or driving while impaired conviction. Anybody in New York who is accused, just being accused of driving while intoxicated and having a blood alcohol result of .08 or more will have their license suspended at the arraignment where they get a chance to plead not guilty. So just being accused will have license issues, and then if you have a lawyer whose not familiar with the statues about hardship licenses, restricted licenses and conditional licenses, the accused person will not be getting a full representation and could face really harder sanctions then that would’ve been necessary.
Interviewer: So one mistake people can make is burying their head in the sand and going to the arraignment unprepared. Then when they’re going to see what are they going to do with their license, they’re not going to have one for awhile.
Eric: That’s correct. And some people who get these desk appearance tickets will represent themselves. They’ll go thinking that they don’t need a lawyer or their not sure if they want to have a lawyer, or they find somebody who doesn’t really do DWI cases and they’ll go in, they’ll plead not guilty, and the case will get adjourned for sometimes four to six weeks due to court congestion. And then during that time period, the person has no driving privileges. When they would’ve otherwise been eligible for a hardship license.
By Eric Sachs