What to Do if You're Stopped for DWI in New York
Stop Safely as Soon as Possible When the Police Lights go onIf you see police emergency lights and/or hear a siren, pull over as soon as possible, making sure you park your car safely off the road. Don't stop on a heavily trafficked roadway, but don't travel too far or the police will conclude you're trying to run from them. Put your right signal on to show your intent is to pull over to the side of the road.
Stay in your vehicle and don't roll down your window all the way. That way, less alcohol odors can escape for police detection.
Before the police come to your car, keep your hands on the steering wheel to show you're not doing anything dangerous to them. Then, when they ask for your papers, know where they are so you don't appear to be fumbling around for them. Hand them through your partially opened window, again so any odors aren't as obvious to the police. Be respectful at all times. Don't argue with the police. Stay in the car unless told to get out. Do not lean on the car if possible.
Respectfully Decline to do any Coordination Tests at RoadsideIf the police ask if you've been drinking, remember, you don't have to make any admissions to them. Again, you may decline to answer. You can say nothing or say your attorney told you not to answer any questions.
If they ask you to step out of the vehicle, you ordinarily must do so, but you don't have to do any of their so-called coordination tests. ( I believe such "tests" are not relevant to whether you are intoxicated.) You may decline to do them as well.
In my experience, the best approach, if you believe you're over the legal limit, is to simply stand quietly and say nothing. Don't move and don't say anything - ever. Just do as the police direct and nothing more.
If the police ask you to blow into a portable breath test, you may again simply say nothing or you may decline to take it and tell them you're willing to take a test at the police station. There may be adverse effects upon your license if you refuse to take the roadside breath test.
If Arrested, Request an Attorney ImmediatelyIf the police decide to arrest you, do not resist them in any way. Don't pull away from them or run. That could turn into an additional charge of Resisting Arrest, another Misdemeanor. Simply put your hands behind you and they will handcuff you and they should read you your Miranda rights. You know, "You have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law, you have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford one, one will be provided to you free of charge." You can agree that you've been read them, but you can also just decline to say anything. Pure silence.
Ask for an attorney immediately and then say absolutely nothing to the police from that point onward. Nothing. Remember, if you do choose to speak to them even after asking for an attorney, they just may be able to use it against you in court. Stay silent.
Decline Answering any Questions Upon Advice of CounselRemain silent throughout the questioning process, except to tell them your "pedigree" information which is your name, address and date of birth. You may also ask for a telephone call to call a relative and/or an attorney. Its usually best to have an attorney's number with you if you're going out drinking because you're more likely to need it today than anytime before.
Simply tell the police your attorney directed you not to answer any further questions and you're following his/her instructions.
Take the Breat Test at the Police Station - Most of the TimeIf you decline to take the breath test in NY, the DMV will revoke your drivers license after a short hearing to tell if you were warned ahead of time of that consequence. My advice is usually to take the breath test - if you're not too intoxicated. If you know you're well over the limit, that could mean you could be charged with a more serious charge or plea bargaining could be less available to you, so in those conditions, you might not want to take the breath test. If you've had two or more prior DWI charges (even though some have been reduced) you've probably suffered at least one DWI conviction as a Misdemeanor. If that's the case, then it might be best if you didn't take the breath test because you'll more than likely be facing a felony DWI and without the test results, the DA has less evidence with which to convict you. If you decline to take the test, make sure you are very careful how you speak and walk, since the police often videotape that area of the station house.
Don't Discuss Your Case with Anyone in the Holding CellsIf you get placed in a holding cell or handcuffed to a wall, don't discuss your case with anyone. They may have video cameras and microphones in those areas listening to you or videotaping you. Its always best to simply stay still and quiet and you'll do much better for yourself.