When Do You Have a Right to an Attorney?

The right to an attorney is enshrined in the United States Constitution as one of the fundamental rights that every American has by birthright. After all, how can someone defend themselves in court if they aren’t given access to legal expertise, which they are unlikely to have themselves? But things are more complicated than they first appear, because there are two slightly different rights to an attorney, and the distinction can be important.

The right to an attorney is guaranteed by two constitutional amendments in the Bill of Rights: The Fifth Amendment, and the Sixth Amendment. Though both amendments guarantee your right to an attorney, they have a couple of important distinctions between them. First is the difference in timing: the 5th Amendment right to counsel guarantees your right to a lawyer while you’re being interrogated in police custody; the 6th Amendment right to counsel, on the other hand, guarantees your right to counsel during the critical parts of a criminal prosecution.

However, there’s another, more significant difference: the 6th Amendment requires the court to appoint you a lawyer if you can’t afford one at the time of your arraignment (when you’re formally charged with a crime). The 5th Amendment requires police to allow you access to a lawyer if you already have one, but they aren’t required to provide you with one, because an arrest doesn’t necessarily signal the beginning of a criminal prosecution. Thus, you can be in a situation where you are legally entitled to have an attorney, but you aren’t yet legally entitled to have one appointed to you by the court. And if you’re being interrogated by the police, it can be very helpful to have an attorney present to advise you on your rights.

Those who have been charged with a crime can face serious legal consequences. A New York criminal defense lawyer, who is experienced in handling criminal cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you or your loved one has been arrested, contact the Suffolk County criminal defense attorneys at McGuire, Peláez & Bennett at (631) 348-1702.

Your Rights When You’re Stopped for a DUI or DWI

It should go without saying that you should never, under any circumstances, drive while under the influence of an intoxicating substance, such as alcohol, marijuana or heroin. However, if you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), there are a few things you should keep in mind, so that you can best protect your rights.

Continue reading “Your Rights When You’re Stopped for a DUI or DWI”

Consequences of Driving Under the Influence

As law enforcement continues to crack down on driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses, it is important to understand the consequences surrounding these charges. Should you be pulled over by a police officer in New York for suspected intoxication, serious penalties could arise with fees mounting into the thousands, along with a revocation of driving privileges, and possible jail time, if you are found guilty.
Continue reading “Consequences of Driving Under the Influence”

More Than 49,000 NYS Drivers Didn’t “Stay Off the Naughty List”

Newsdayreported that, as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaignthat took place between December 13, 2018 and January 1, 2019, New York State police issued 48,877 tickets and arrested 783 people for drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs. During that time period, troopers also investigated 643 crashes that resulted in eight deaths and numerous injuries, according to New York State Police.
Continue reading “More Than 49,000 NYS Drivers Didn’t “Stay Off the Naughty List””

Contact a Lawyer Immediately After a DUI/DWI

Being charged with a DUI can impact an individual financially as well as jeopardize his or her driving privileges. There are a number of defenses available in a DUI case that may reduce a charge or result in an acquittal. A recent case, which the defendant ultimately lost, helps illustrate one of those defenses.  The New York State appellate division ruled on a case where a defendant was arrested for driving under the influence. The defendant was taken to the police station where the arresting officer and two other experienced officers witnessed a Breathalyzer test and an additional 13-step procedure. One officer administered the Breathalyzer test, along with the 13-step procedure, while another officer videoed the events.
Continue reading “Contact a Lawyer Immediately After a DUI/DWI”

A DWI Conviction Carries Strict Penalties in New York

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most preventable, but biggest mistakes a person can make. Alcohol can severely impair one’s cognitive abilities, reflexes, vision, and more. According to the State of New York, the level of impairment that affects each person is different and depends on five conditions:

  • the amount of alcohol you drink;
  • the amount of food you eat before or while you drink alcohol;
  • the length of time you drink alcohol;
  • your body weight; and
  • your gender.

Continue reading “A DWI Conviction Carries Strict Penalties in New York”

Avoid Intoxicated Driving This Summer

As we begin to reach the height of summer, it seems every weekend is consumed by barbeques, vacations, beach days, holidays, and other activities. Many people choose to relax at these weekend festivities with alcohol and some even choose to operate a vehicle while under the influence. July 4th has become one of America’s deadliest holidays as a result of the increased number of DWI accidents and overall, the abundance of summertime activities tend to heighten the risk of these tragic incidents.
Continue reading “Avoid Intoxicated Driving This Summer”

New York State Police Cracks Down on DWI and Reckless Driving During Super Bowl Weekend

On January 31, 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide crackdown on impaired and reckless driving during Super Bowl weekend. New York State police and local law enforcement agencies worked together to enforce underage drinking laws, and increase patrols and security checkpoints to “deter, identify, and arrest impaired drivers,” according to Governor Cuomo’s press office.

Continue reading “New York State Police Cracks Down on DWI and Reckless Driving During Super Bowl Weekend”

What Should I do if Arrested for a DUI or DWI in New York?

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are serious traffic matter that could result in a criminal record and jail time. If you find yourself under questioning or arrest, consider the following.

Continue reading “What Should I do if Arrested for a DUI or DWI in New York?”

Case Dismissed Based on “Auto-Brewery Syndrome” Defense

Having a dedicated and experienced attorney is essential to defending yourself against DWI charges. There are evidentiary tools and various defenses which can be asserted that an attorney can help identify.

One recent case in which an attorney’s experience and use of unique defense tools resulted in a dismissal is a case in Upstate New York. A woman, after driving erratically, was pulled over for drunk driving. Her blood alcohol content (BAC) was at .33, more than four times the legal limit of .08. She stated that she only drank three alcoholic beverages earlier in the day, which was not enough to equal her BAC.

Continue reading “Case Dismissed Based on “Auto-Brewery Syndrome” Defense”