If you’re driving while intoxicated in New York, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana or taking prescription drugs. The consequences are the same if you’re convicted, and those consequences can be quite harsh. If you’re charged with driving while intoxicated on Long Island or anywhere in New York City, it’s imperative to contact an experienced Long Island DWI defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Marijuana and DWI

While a growing number of states are liberalizing their marijuana laws, concern is also growing across the nation about drivers who mix marijuana and alcohol. Some new research findings from Europe are causing even more apprehensions.

There is simply no question or debate – smoking pot and drinking alcohol together does far more damage to your driving ability than simply consuming either substance exclusively. That’s what researchers in the Netherlands at Maastricht University found when they tested a number of volunteers. When alcohol is combined with marijuana, and even when a driver’s blood alcohol content level is measurably under the legal limit, driving ability is substantially impaired, and a driver’s driving behavior resembles the driving pattern of someone significantly over the legal limit. Combining even small quantities of the two drugs together essentially destroys your ability to drive a vehicle safely.

Prescriptions and DWI

n the state of New York, if you are arrested and accused of driving while intoxicated, immediately take your case to an experienced Long Island DWI defense attorney. Understand, however, that a second DWI conviction within ten years of the first is a Class E felony in New York, and if you are convicted, the penalties will a fine from $1,000 to $5,000 and ten days in jail or sixty hours of community service. If you’ve been convicted of DWI more than four or five times, you may be struggling with a dependency issue, and you should probably seek some counseling. Almost anyone can avoid DWI troubles by quitting alcohol. Drivers who don’t drink alcohol do not get charged with DWI – usually.

However, if you are using pharmaceuticals prescribed by your doctor, DWI can get complicated. You can’t just “quit” your prescription medication like you can quit drinking. Your medicine is keeping you healthy, but you probably should not drive while you’re talking it. Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines can impair your ability to drive. Driving while taking these medications could get you charged with DWI. You could be responsible for a collision, serious injuries, and even fatalities.

If your physician has prescribed medications for you or prescribes them in the future, ask the doctor to describe how the drugs will affect you. Always heed the warning labels that accompany medications. If you are accused of a prescription drug-related DWI in the state of New York, it’s like every other DWI charge. You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to consult an attorney before answering any questions. If you’re charged with DWI on Long Island or in any of the five boroughs, obtain legal help at once. Let an experienced Long Island DWI defense attorney represent you and fight on your behalf. After any New York DWI arrest, make the call immediately.

What To Do If You’re Stopped for DWI

If you are pulled over by law enforcement officers on Long Island or in New York City because you are suspected of DWI, remain silent and do not consent to a search of your vehicle. One of your key rights is the right to remain silent. Sure, if you are a charming speaker, you might be able to talk your way around a traffic ticket, but a criminal investigation is another matter entirely. When you’re being investigated for a crime, talking with the police is almost always a mistake. You have the right to have an attorney present during any and all questioning. Don’t be concerned about your “Miranda” rights. As long as you are not under arrest, the police do not have to tell you your Miranda rights, but you always have a right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during any questioning.

The primary job of police officers, aside from maintaining order, is to gather facts and collect statements when alleged crimes are reported – no more, no less.  In the performance of a police investigation to gather facts and statements, police officers may have to decide whether or not to take a person to jail for processing and arraignment (a formal reading of charges to be pursued), but they make this decision based on the facts and statements provided, not on their own legal analysis.

In most cases, it is a person’s own statements that end up hurting them the most.  Even though the statements may seem simple and innocent enough, police are not trained to dissect facts and apply rules of law, they are trained to follow a checklist, of sorts, basing their decision to make an arrest based on certain words (in many cases, not even full sentences), which are reported to them.

You are never required to consent to an unwarranted search, but if a police officer has a search warrant, you must permit the search. If the police ask to conduct a warrantless search, you should insist on a warrant, but remain polite at all times when communicating with the police officer. A police officer has no right to detain you unless the officer has a reason to suspect that you committed a crime (or a traffic violation). If you are in doubt, simply ask the officer if you are free to go.

If you are arrested for marijuana-DWI, you’ll need an experienced Long Island DWI defense attorney who can represent you aggressively while advocating for the best possible result. Even in first-offense, marijuana-DWI cases, New York courts are seldom lenient. Don’t plead guilty – fight the charge. If you face a DWI charge for any reason in Mineola, Nassau County, Suffolk County, or anywhere in New York City, contact an experienced Long Island DWI defense attorney immediately.