DWI Defense FAQS

At Jeannie D. Michalski LLP, we provide complete DWI/DWAI defense services to people throughout Monroe County, Livingston County, Genesee County, and Ontario County. In the years we have helped people, we have found that there are some questions we are frequently asked. Please read below for answers to some of the most common questions regarding DWI/DWAI. The answers do not replace legal advice — please contact us today to schedule a free DWI consultation at our offices in Brighton or Avon.

What should I do if I get pulled over by police? First and foremost, you should not be drinking and driving. It is extraordinarily dangerous for you and others around you. However, if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you should be advised that everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law- so don’t say anything that has anything to do with alcohol. For example, if you tell the police officer you "only had two beers," then that gives the police officer reasonable suspicion to perform field sobriety tests. If you perform the tests and fail the tests, then the police officer will have probable cause to arrest you. At the traffic stop, you have the right to say you want an attorney, and you do not have to talk to the police officer. Overall, it depends on how much you have had to drink and your own reasoning skills at the time of the traffic stop. You should always be polite and/or respectful and never talk too much.

Is it okay to refuse a breath test? As Rochester DWI defense lawyers, we know that this is another difficult question to answer. If you have had one beer and you are not drunk, you may choose to blow when asked to take the BAC DataMaster chemical "breath" test. If you know you have had too much to drink, you can refuse the test. While you are not required by law to take the BAC DataMaster test, you should know that refusing the BAC DataMaster test will cause the DMV to hold a Refusal Hearing, at which an Administrative Law Judge will decide whether to revoke your license for a year.

Am I going to jail? A first-offense DWI is punishable by up to one year in jail. While we cannot guarantee results, we can tell you that we have never had a client go to jail for a first-offense DWI. We have helped many people just like you get through this and move on with their lives.

How do your fees work? How much is this going to cost me? We typically do a flat rate on DWI defense cases. The flat rate for your case will be based upon your specific circumstances, such as the other charges you may have pending. We are mindful of the cost to you, and we strive to keep our fees reasonable given your specific situation.

How do I know who I should hire? DWI defense attorneys in Upstate New York charge about the same amount of money to handle cases. Therefore, you need to look beyond cost. We believe it is very important to feel comfortable with your defense lawyer. We encourage you to call us at 585-351-2500 and talk to us - for free. Then you can make an informed decision about who to hire.

How long will my entire case take? This depends on if there will be a trial or if you take a plea bargain. If you have a trial, it could be up to six months before the trial begins.

What happens next? You will have your first appearance in court and get arraigned. You will also request a hardship license, with our assistance. There may also be a probable cause hearing, which is like a mini-trial. In that hearing, the court determines whether the police had a justification for stopping your vehicle. If they lacked a justification, then we move to have your case dismissed. Then, if there is not a resolution, we may set it down for trial.

What are motion arguments? These are essentially ways in which your attorney can ask the court to dismiss the case.

Am I going to plea out or will I go to trial? We move forward as if every single case is going to trial — even if the majority of them never do. We are in a better position to negotiate plea offers when the prosecution recognizes we are ready and willing to go to trial.

How much can I drink before it is illegal to drive? There is really no safe amount to drink if you will be driving. Everyone processes alcohol differently. We have found that the well-known rule of thumb - that a person can metabolize one drink per hour - is simply not true for many clients and is thus unreliable. If you are going to drink alcohol, please designate a sober driver.

We know there are many more questions you may have about DWI. Please contact us to learn more and to schedule a consultation.

Contact Us

If you have asked any of the above questions, it is time for legal advice. You can reach Jeannie D. Michalski in Rochester or Avon at any time of the day or night, 24/7. Call 585-351-2500.