Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Aggravated DWI is not a felony…Unless it is….

     And if that’s not lawyer-speak then I don’t know what is! But it’s true nonetheless. Aggravated DWI in New York is codified in VTL Sec. 1192.2-a, and within that section are two subsections, (a) and (b).
      VTL 1192-2-a(a) or per se Aggravated DWI, establishes a separate offense for driving with a BAC of .18 or higher. A violation of 1192.2-a(a), in and of itself, is still a misdemeanor level offense, although the sanctions and penalties for a conviction are more severe than for a “straight’ DWI; but it is NOT a felony. (However, if you have at least one prior DWI conviction within the past 10 years you could be charged with a felony, regardless of whether this BAC rises to an aggravated level or not.)
     On the other hand, a violation of VTL 1192.2-a(b) IS a felony straight out of the gate. 1192.2-a(b) makes it an automatic felony to commit the offense of DWI, DWAI or combined influence DWI while a child younger than 16 years of age is in the vehicle. This is more commonly known as “Leandra’s Law” in honor of Leandra Rosado, an 11 year old girl who was tragically killed in drunk driving accident in New York City in 2009.
      A conviction of either one of these offenses can pretty much ruin your day, year, and possibly life. So if you find yourself on the short end of an Aggravated DWI arrest, you need DWI defense attorneys experienced in defending these very serious DWI charges; you need Catalano & Carpenter LLP. Call us today to at (845) 454-1919 schedule a free DWI consultation.

High BAC? Call C&C?

Catalano & Carpenter LLP
4 Liberty Street
Poughkeepsie, New York 12601
(845) 454-1919

Friday, May 8, 2015

My BAC and Me

High BAC? Call C&C!
But what does BAC mean?
BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Content and, just like it sounds, is a measure of the alcohol content in your blood. POW…Mind blow.
The minimum BAC in all 50 states that will get you bagged for DWI is 0.08 of 1%. NOTE: that’s NOT .08%; it’s actually 0.0008, which would mean that you have successfully replaced 0.0008 of your blood (or the water that should be in it) with straight alcohol. That alcohol (or at least the alcohol that hasn’t yet been broken down by your liver) then gets pumped throughout your entire body, including to the brain, resulting in a unique medical phenomenon doctors refer to as “Drunky McWastypants.”
Occasionally I’ll get a call from a potential client who tells me they blew a “2.1” or something like that. As much as I would love to hear the details of how someone managed to replace 0.0021 of their blood with alcohol and somehow continue breathing (forget about driving!), I’ll quickly move on to other issues and assume, always correctly, that they really blew a 0.21. Why? Because they’d be far too busy attending their own funeral instead of calling me if they really blew a 2.1. While theoretically it may be possible to blow a 1.0 or higher, practically speaking it’s damn near impossible to get your BAC that high without first passing out and/or, ya know, dying. On average, even the most hardcore drinkers will black out around 0.4 to 0.5. Granted, alcohol effects everyone differently and depends on a lot of daily and personal variables, but if you’ve managed to get yourself to a 0.5, you should also manage to get yourself to a hospital (Call an ambulance! Better yet, have a coherent friend call the ambulance… Don’t drive yourself to the hospital!)
I’ve seen a lot of high BAC’s, the highest I think was somewhere around .38. I know another attorney who’s seen a 0.4-something. Even the prosecutors I speak with who only prosecute DWI’s can’t remember ever seeing anything above a 0.4-something. So keep that in mind the next time you think to yourself, “Psh, a .08 is nothing!” It is, in fact, a whole lot of something.
BUT! Just because your BAC reads high at the police station (or from a blood test) doesn’t mean it IS that high! That’s where we come in. If you’ve been charged with Aggravated DWI (in violation of NYS VTL Sec. 1192.2-a, having a BAC of .18 or higher), you need DWI defense attorneys who know how to defend you against those high – and potentially damning – numbers. You need Catalano & Carpenter LLP. Call (845) 454-1919 now to schedule a free DWI consultation.

High BAC? Call C&C!

Criminal defense attorneys love to brag about that one client they represented who had that crazy high BAC, we’re talking like a .28! “Wow,” says whoever is listening, “what happened with the case?” “I pled him out to the Aggravated DWI; what else can you do with a BAC like that?!” Whereupon my tongue immediately starts to bleed from the involuntary pressure of my teeth...
But my inner DWI defense attorney (who is just a little chippier than the outside DWI defense attorney) is absolutely SCREAMING!! What else can you do?!?! Uumm, how about A LOT!!!!
High BAC readings, from either a Draeger, Datamaster, Intoxilyzer or even blood tests can be intimidating to someone not experienced enough to understand that they are looking at a potentially huge opportunity. But a skilled DWI defense attorney, like the ones here at Catalano & Carpenter LLP, sees that opportunity and immediately goes to work in attempting to debunk the BAC because, yes, in some instances that can actually be done! But your attorney has to know how. Unfortunately, not all criminal/DWI defense attorneys do. I'm guessing you probably want yours to, tho.
All DWI convictions can cause significant problems for anyone who has to live with it, including innocent family members who have to pick up the slack. But Aggravated and Felony DWI convictions can be downright devastating resulting in higher fines, longer periods of license revocation, and a better chance of incarceration. If you have been charged with Aggravated DWI (BAC of .18 or higher) or Felony DWI, you need a DWI defense attorney who knows how to defend against those most serious of DWI offenses; you need Catalano & Carpenter LLP. Call (845) 454-1919 today to schedule a free consultation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

A sincere Happy Cinco de Mayo to all our Mexican friends (and to everyone else who just uses the holiday as an excuse to drink)!

Since it IS a holiday that lends itself to excessive drinking, you can bet your maracas that there will be enhanced police patrols out there today into tonight looking for buzzed, drugged and drunk drivers. Might even come across a DWI checkpoint or two! And they’ll be stopping cars for minor infractions they wouldn’t normally even think twice about. So when that thought creeps into your head after that third, fourth or tenth cerveza telling you you’re good to drive, shut it down…just like the Mexican army did to the French in 1862!! Little Cinco de Mayo trivia for ya’ there…  You’re welcome.

If you are going to have a few today, be smart enough to think ahead and designate a DD. And if those unplanned tequila shots sneak up on you, call a cab or walk. You don’t like to call cabs because they’re too expensive? How about a DWI grand total somewhere in the vicinity of $5,000 to $10,000? Even if you end up hailing the world's most expensive cab that charges half that, you're still ahead of the game! 

But if you do find yourself on the heavy, steely, handcuffed end of a DWI stop, the only smart thing you could have done to that point would have been to save our number in your phone first. Put it in there now, Catalano & Carpenter LLP at (845) 454-1919 or our after-hours number at (914) 512-7641. Have fun! Be safe! You’re not the only person in danger when you drive drunk!        

Catalano & Carpenter LLP
4 Liberty Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 454-1919

"Knowledge, Experience & Commitment When You Need it Most"