Charged with DWI - I wasn't drinking!
Question: Can I be charged with DWI if I haven’t been drinking?
Answer: Yes. There are sections of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law that allow officers to arrest you for DWI, even if you have had nothing to drink.
One common scenario is if somebody is suspected to have been using illegal drugs. First, a police officer will stop the car. The person in the car may appear impaired. The police officer will give them a prescreen for alcohol using an Alco-Sensor test, and the Alco-Sensor test may come back negative, at which point, if the person still looks impaired to the police officer, the officer may arrest them for DWAI Drugs. DWAI Drugs is a misdemeanor. In order to prove that the person has taken drugs and is operating under the influence of drugs, typically, police will attempt to get a blood sample so that they can check for the presence of drugs.
Before you talk to police or consent to any sort of search or seizure, call the Rochester, NY DWI lawyers at Jeannie D. Michalski, LLP. (585) 351-2500. We’re available 24/7.
Sometimes we learn that the person was arrested after taking therapeutic dosages of a drug prescribed by their doctor. We regularly see that Xanax mixed with other drugs can result in very bizarre behavior. If a person is impaired buy a prescription drug, there is case law we can use to argue that the impairment was unforeseen and not a violation of the law.
We recently represented a client who was arrested for DWI, but he had no alcohol in his system and he wasn’t even driving at the time of his arrest. He was found at a convenience store, late at night, rummaging through the trunk of his car. The car was off, the keys were missing, and according to police, our client was acting intoxicated. Our client was placed under arrest after allegedly making an incriminating statement, transported to a hospital for a blood draw, and his charges were later amended to DWAI-Drugs when the test came back positive for prescription medications. Upon examining the facts of the case, we found that the prescription medication in his blood was beyond therapeutic levels, but he did have valid prescriptions for all the medications. We advised the client that this was a case that could be beaten at trial, and the prosecution offered a plea of Disorderly Conduct (a non-criminal violation) based on his behavior at the convenience store.
The Rochester DWI lawyers at Jeannie D. Michalski, LLP have experience defending against drug charges. Call us 24/7 at (585) 351-2500.
Marijuana is another issue that comes up regularly. Many people who have smoked marijuana will say that the high only lasts for a few hours. However, THC will show up in a person's blood work for up to four weeks after they've smoked. When the arresting officer tests the blood of a person who has smoked marijuana (but might not currently be under the influence of THC), the test will come back positive for THC, and it becomes our job to convince a jury that the THC levels were not high enough to cause an impairment. That is why, if you are charged with DWAI Drugs or, for that matter, any other sort of drunk-driving charge in New York State, it's very important that you hire an attorney with experience in this area. This is a very complicated area of the DWI law. It is very unlikely that a person working on their own is going to be able to navigate their way out of a DWAI-Drugs charge without a very good lawyer.