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Defenses to DUI (DWI) in New York

There are various ways to challenge a DUI in the state of New York. One can call into question the legality of the original stoppage of the vehicle; the manner in which the breath test was administered; who the test was administered by; the machine used to test the driver; and the field sobriety test used. In order to challenge you DUI in New York, you must first file a challenge so that a hearing can be held; without a hearing you will lose your license.

The initial stopping of the vehicle can be challenged if it can be showed that the officer did not have a reasonable cause to stop the driver. If a valid reason cannot be shown then the evidence stemming from the stop can be suppressed. For example, if an officer says that he observed a driver weaving inside the lanes and this is why he made the stop, then it will be an illegal stop because weaving inside the lanes is no illegal.

Secondly, one can challenge the field sobriety test as not accurate. An officer will say argue that he observed the driver, and from these observations (slurred speech, red eyes, alcohol smell) that the driver was impaired. The one-leg stand, and the nystgamus, and the walk and turn test are the test used to solidify this suspicion and can be explained away by other factors. Some of those factors include: lack of sleep, medication, allergies, physical impairment such as old age or very lightweight and even the way the ground was leveled when performing these tests.

A defendant can also show that breath testing is inaccurate. Generally, breath tests by themselves have been deemed unreliable because of the various inaccuracies. If a defendant can show that the machine was not calibrated correctly, or that the person using it was not properly trained on how to use the device. Moreover, these machines cannot distinguish between the intake of alcohol and other substances that are no illegal such as food and mouthwash that may contain alcohol and can be challenged on these grounds. If a blood test was taken, the defense would want to show that the analysis was incorrect or the preservation of blood was also done wrong. Lastly, if the defense can show that the breath machine is notorious for malfunctioning, that the breath test operator was unlicensed to operate the breath test, or that the license of the breath test operator was expired, the evidence can be suppressed.

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