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Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is recognized as a serious criminal offense in every state in the U.S. It refers to driving while under the influence of alcohol drugs. It may also be referred to as driving under the influence (DUI). If a police officer observes you driving in a manner that would suggest you may be driving under the influence, they can legally stop you and assess you for a possible DWI violation. If their assessment suggests that you are intoxicated, they can ask you to submit to a field sobriety test, breathalyzer, or blood alcohol test. You have the right to refuse these tests, but in most states it could result in suspension of your driver’s license.

Is DWI a Criminal Offense or a Traffic Offense?

DWI is a criminal offense in many states. However, in a few states, including New Jersey, DWI is a traffic violation. The penalty for DWI is typically suspension of your driver’s license, a fine, community service, and often imprisonment. Each state has their own DWI laws, but they are consistent in many ways. For instance, most states have different penalties for first offense, second offense, and third offense.

In states where DWI is a traffic violation, the administrative component falls under the purview of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The case is tried before a judge, but there is no jury. It is not treated as a criminal court case.

Responding to a Desk Appearance Ticket for DWI

In some cases, a person who receives a DWI will be issued a desk appearance ticket (DAT) by the police. This is a legal notice that the person is required to appear in court to answer to accusations of committing a criminal offense. When a person is arrested the police will either put them in jail until they go before a judge for arraignment or the are issued a desk appearance ticket and do not wait in jail until their arraignment. A desk appearance ticket is not a traffic ticket or court summons; it indicates that you have been arrested and requires you to appear in criminal court.

DWI Attorney: Help when You Need It

If you have been arrested for a DWI, you need someone on your side who knows the law. Call Joshua Stevens and get the legal help that you need. For accessible, affordable, and knowledgeable legal representation for DWI in New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, and Nassau) as well as Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia call Joshua Stevens at 718-640-5060.

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