Stephen Bilkis
Fighting For Your Freedom! 800.696.9529 Request A Free Consultation

Stages of a DWI Case in New York

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in New York. Being charged with DWI can result in severe legal and personal consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI in New York, it is important to understand the stages of a DWI case and what to expect throughout the legal process. The stages of a DWI case in New York can be complex and overwhelming, especially for those who are not familiar with the legal system. From the initial traffic stop and probable cause determination to the arrest, arraignment, and sentencing, each stage of a DWI case requires a thorough understanding of the law and a skilled legal defense. With the help of an experienced New York DWI lawyer, you can navigate the legal system and fight for your rights. It is crucial to act quickly if you have been charged with DWI in New York. The consequences of a conviction can be severe, including fines, jail time, and a criminal record that could impact your personal and professional life for years to come. By understanding the stages of a DUI case and working with an experienced legal representation, you can increase your chances of a favorable outcome and protect your future. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates for a free, no obligation consultation about your case.

Traffic Stop and Probable Cause

The first stage of a DUI case in New York begins with a traffic stop. Police officers must have probable cause to pull over a driver suspected of driving under the influence. Probable cause may include swerving, speeding, or running a stop sign. Once pulled over, the officer will likely ask the driver for their license, registration, and insurance. The officer will also observe the driver's behavior, such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol.

For example, in People v. Sims, 201 A.D.3d 1248 (N.Y. App. Div. 2022) the defendant was charged with DWI after being pulled over by a police officer. The officer claimed that the defendant had been swerving and failed to maintain his lane, but the defendant argued that he had not been drinking and was not impaired. The defendant moved to suppress evidence from the stop, arguing that the officer did not have probable cause to pull him over. The trial court denied the motion to suppress, finding that the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision, finding that the officer had reasonable suspicion to initiate the stop based on the defendant's erratic driving.

Field Sobriety Test and Breathalyzer

If the officer suspects that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may administer a field sobriety test. This test involves physical and cognitive tasks that the driver must perform, such as standing on one leg or walking a straight line.

If the driver fails the field sobriety test, the officer may request a breathalyzer test. The breathalyzer test measures the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. In New York, a BAC level of 0.08% or higher is considered illegal. It's important to have an experienced New York DWI lawyer to review your breathalyzer test and challenge the results because breathalyzers aren’t always reliable. There are various factors that can affect the accuracy of the results. Additionally, a lawyer can also challenge the admissibility of the breathalyzer results in court, which can lead to a dismissal of the charges or a reduction in the severity of the penalties.


If the driver fails the field sobriety test or breathalyzer, they will likely be arrested for DWI. The driver will be taken to the police station, where they will be booked and processed. During the booking process, the driver's fingerprints and photograph will be taken, and their personal information will be entered into the system. The driver may also be asked to take a chemical test, such as a blood or urine test. As an experienced DWI attorney in New York will explain, while you can choose to refuse to take a chemical test, under implied consent, refusal to take a chemical test has severe consequences. In New York, the implied consent law means that any driver who operates a vehicle in the state is considered to have given their consent to chemical tests of their blood, breath, urine, or saliva if they are lawfully arrested for a DWI offense. Refusal to take a chemical test can result in license suspension and other penalties.


After the arrest, the driver will be taken before a judge for arraignment. The arraignment is a formal hearing where the driver will be formally charged with DWI. The judge will read the charges against the driver and ask how they plead. If the driver pleads guilty, the judge may sentence them at that time. If the driver pleads not guilty, the case will proceed to trial.


If the driver is found guilty of DWI, they will be sentenced. The severity of the sentence will depend on several factors, including the driver's BAC level, prior DWI convictions, and any aggravating or mitigating factors. Penalties for DUI in New York may include fines, license suspension, required use of an ignition interlock device, community service, probation, and even jail time.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Being charged with a DWI in New York is a serious matter that requires immediate attention. If you are charged with DWI, understanding the stages of a DWI case in New York can help you navigate the legal process and make informed decisions. It is important to hire an experienced DWI attorney serving New York who can provide legal advice and representation throughout each stage of the case. They can challenge the prosecution's evidence, negotiate plea deals, and advocate for reduced charges or sentencing. With the right legal counsel, defendants can protect their rights and work towards a favorable outcome. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.