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Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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DUI reversal could set precedents in New York and elsewhere

The majority of the time, when law enforcement officers in New York City and other cities throughout the U.S. pull a driver over and observe that they have been drinking, the driver themselves know they were drinking and driving. While sometimes drivers may claim they have not had too much to drink, they often realize they have been drinking and driving. Despite a driver’s intentions or beliefs regarding their intoxication and getting behind the wheel, if police stop them, they are typically charged with DUI or DWI.

 

A recent ruling in one state could set new precedents for cases of unintentional drunken driving. A man was reportedly accused, and convicted, of drunk driving but he claims that due to a sleep disorder, he was driving while asleep. According to law enforcement, he was pulled over after running a red light.

An appeals judge recently overturned the conviction. Although evidence of the man’s sleep disorder and its effects were presented in the first case, the initial judge felt that the reasoning behind the drunk driving was inconsequential, all that mattered was proof the man’s blood alcohol content was above the legal limit. The appellate judge’s ruling was largely based on the action being involuntary.

 

Some DUI cases are straight forward, while others, like this one, are more complex. It may be beneficial to get legal representation if you’ve been accused of drunk driving. The consequences for a DUI can be severe, ranging from heavy fines to jail sentences. An attorney can help you to fully understand your options and help look out for your interests.

Source: Westport News, “Sleep disorder vacates drunken driving conviction”, May 31, 2013

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