Traffic Stops Involving Drugs in New York

At J&G, LLP, our criminal defense attorneys understand the close relationship between traffic stops and drug prosecutions in New York State. We know how getting pulled over on the street or on the New York Thruway can lead to a charge of driving while ability impaired by drugs (DWAI-Drugs) or drug possession. Additionally, depending on what a visual inspection or search of the vehicle turns up, a traffic stop can lead to drug distribution charges, gun possession charges, or asset forfeiture proceedings involving cash or the vehicle itself.

We also know how mistakes by law enforcement officers in stopping a motor vehicle, interrogating the driver or passengers, or searching the vehicle can generate defenses and constitutional claims that will sometimes lead to dismissal of the criminal charges.

Defense Attorneys for DWAI-Drugs Charges

Contact our law firm in Walden or Monticello to learn how experienced criminal defense lawyers explore the relationship between traffic stops and drug crimes. We represent clients throughout Upstate New York and the Hudson Valley, especially such mid-valley counties as Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess.

The most common drug crime charged in connection with a traffic stop is also a motor vehicle offense: DWAI-Drugs. The more generic offense of DWAI is regarded as a lesser-included infraction of DWI, which means that the evidence shows impairment but a blood alcohol concentration below the .08 percent level necessary to convict for DWI. A negotiated guilty plea to DWAI on an original charge of DWI is usually considered a good result for the defense, because the penalties for DWAI are so much lighter than they are for DWI.

DWAI-Drugs is a much more serious offense than DWAI based on alcohol. DWAI-Drugs is a criminal misdemeanor, while straight DWAI is a traffic infraction. Of greater importance to people faced with a charge of DWAI-Drugs is the fact that the penalties upon conviction are basically the same as those for the criminal offense of DWI: up to a year in jail, a fine of $500 to $1,000, and a license suspension of six months. Second or third offenses of DWAI-Drugs within a 10-year period are charged as felonies, just like repeat DWI.

While there are many ways to resolve DWAI-Drugs charges and the more serious drugs or weapons felonies that can result from a search of the vehicle, an especially effective approach is to challenge the arresting officer’s right to pull your vehicle over in the first place. The police officer or state trooper needs to be able to state a “reasonable suspicion” of wrongdoing before making the traffic stop. Once you’re pulled over, the officer then needs to have “probable cause” to suspect a particular crime before making the arrest.

Call 845-764-9656 (toll free at 866-303-9595) in Upstate New York and the Hudson Valley.

At J&G, our experience with the investigation and analysis of the facts on both reasonable suspicion and probable cause issues allows us to move for early dismissal of the whole range of charges that result from a defective traffic stop or an arrest without probable cause. Contact us in Walden or Monticello to learn how our attorneys can defend you.