Facing an accusation for the commission of a crime always has the potential to damage the reputation of the alleged criminal. However, in some situations, this damage can extend further and negatively impact the career of the accused. This has, unfortunately, happened to a New York police officer who was recently charged with DWI. For the time being, the officer has reportedly been suspended without pay.
In New York, a driver can be charged with a DWI if they are driving with a BAC of .08 or higher. The only proof required for a conviction is a test showing this level of blood alcohol concentration. There is no requirement to show proof of impairment.
The New York state trooper involved in this case was off duty when he was suspected of driving while intoxicated. The man was driving down an Albany highway on a Sunday evening when he crashed his vehicle. Police administered a breathalyzer test that showed the trooper had a BAC of .14.
Although this is an unfortunate situation for the trooper, he is lucky that his BAC did not register at a .16 or greater. According to New York law, a BAC of .16 or higher is considered an aggravated DWI. Penalties for an aggravated DWI are greater than a DWI.
In situations such as this one, in order to prevent any further harming of the accused's personal or professional reputation, it is always important to obtain a rigorous DWI defense. Since no proof of impairment is required for conviction, a likely strategy in these cases is to challenge the validity of the traffic stop that resulted in the drunk driving charges. A defense can also challenge the validity of blood alcohol testing and field sobriety tests in an effort to mitigate the severity of the punishment.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "NY state trooper charged with DWI after crash," Dec. 17, 2012.