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NY, Suffolk County Driving Under Influence (DWI) Appeal

This DWI conviction was affirmed on appeal but teaches us valuable lessons about remaining silent and avoiding self-incrimination.

The case is People v. Enriquez, 2020 N.Y. Slip Op 51123 (App. Term 2020), a Suffolk County Driving While Intoxicated case (Suffolk, NY) or Suffolk County Driving Under the Influence, DWI, heard by the Honorable Richard Dunne, a long time trial lawyer who was honored by becoming a judge less than a decade ago. It comes by way of appeal, The judgments convicted defendant, upon jury verdicts, of driving while ability impaired and resisting arrest, and of speeding, respectively, and imposed sentences.

When it comes to New York Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), constitutional rights we hold sacred have been stripped - such as the right to remain silent or refuse to incriminate yourself by offering certain bodily fluids, gases or secretions - for the privilege of driving on the roads and public thorough-ways:

defendant's motion to suppress evidence of her refusal to submit to a chemical test, Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1194(2)(a) provides that "[a]ny person who operates a motor vehicle in [New York State] shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test of. . . breath, blood, urine, or saliva, for the purpose of determining the alcoholic and/or drug content of the [motorist's] blood." "Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1194 also grants a motorist a qualified right to decline to voluntarily take a chemical test with the understanding that such a refusal will result in the immediate suspension and ultimate revocation of the motorist's driver license for a period of one year" (People v Patel, 169 AD3d 935, 936 [2019]; see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1194[2][d]; People v Smith, 18 NY3d 544, 548 [2012]). The statute further provides that, where a motorist refuses to submit to a chemical test, evidence of such refusal "shall be admissible in any trial, proceeding or hearing" based upon a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192, "but only upon a showing that the person was given sufficient warning, in clear and unequivocal language, of the effect of such refusal and that the person persisted in the refusal" (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1194[2][f]; see People v Patel, 169 AD3d at 936; People v Sirico, 135 AD3d 19, 23 [2015]). "It is not mandatory that a refusal to submit to a chemical test be expressly communicated in order to be admissible at trial" (People v Warren, 160 AD3d 1132, 1135 [2018]; see People v Smith, 18 NY3d at 550).

So what about the right to remain silent, should one blow or should one not, the importance of having an attorney here becomes paramount. Call the criminal defense attorney on the spot, right there, call an attorney versed in DWI, substance abuse, alcoholism and someone familiar with the New York Criminal Defense of DWI and Substance Abuse related crimes.

As can be seen in this DWI Case, the right against self incrimination, however, is limited by the government interest in preventing death, accidents and substance related/DWI injuries throughout Suffolk County and other states. Suffolk County DWI and Suffolk County Traffic, when compared to the rest of New York, however is disproportionate as Suffolk County Traffic Related Injuries rank highest in this county when compared to the state.

When it comes to refusing the chemical test in a Driving While Intoxicated, DWI, case, "[a] defendant can signal an unwillingness to cooperate that is tantamount to a refusal in any number of ways, including through conduct" (People v Smith, 18 NY3d at 550; accord People v Warren, 160 AD3d at 1135). Courts, in determining whether a defendant's words or actions amount to a refusal, courts must "view [the] defendant's actions in light of all the surrounding circumstances and draw permissible inferences from equivocal words or conduct" (People v Smith, 18 NY3d at 551; accord People v Warren, 160 AD3d at 1135). In this case, it did not help that the Defendant incriminated herself instead of demanding her Criminal Defense Attorney, "Defendant admitted that she had consumed approximately 1.5 ounces of vodka a few hours before was stopped."

In affirming Suffolk County District Court Judge Richard Dunne, the record for the Second Department showed that:

Defendant was then given an opportunity to call her attorney, but called her father instead, who later arrived at the precinct. After defendant had a conversation with her father, the officer asked defendant if she would submit to a chemical test, and defendant replied, "Nothing without my lawyer." The officer, once again, gave defendant an opportunity to contact her attorney, but defendant did not make any telephone call to an attorney. Approximately 15 minutes thereafter, the officer stated to defendant, "[L]ook, this is the third and the last time, are you going to take a chemical test?" Defendant did not respond verbally but "shook her head left and right to indicate a negative response," and was ultimately deemed to have refused the test.

When charged with a crime, call an attorney. The case affirms the conviction and stands for that very important principle - do not drive under the influence and if you are stopped by law enforcement call an attorney versed in substance-related offenses, driving under the influence, DWI, and driving while ability impaired: Cory H. Morris, 631-450-2515.

Suffolk County DWI, Suffolk County Driving While Ability Impaired, Substance Abuse? Accident, Injury, Addiction and Criminal Defense; New York and Florida: Call the Law Offices of Cory H. Morris, 631-450-2515.

Call the Law Offices of Cory H. Morris, 631-450-2515 (NYS) (954) 998-2918 (FLA)


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