Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ithaca Watkins Glen DWI lawyer discusses the MANDATORY Victim Impact Panel

Mandatory Class in NY if convicted or plea to ANY DWI case (image courtesy of

WHAT'S a "Victim Impact Panel" 
Why is it a BIG DEAL?

To begin, the VICTIM IMPACT PANEL is a class that runs about 2 hours and shows people all of the terrible things that can happen (and do happen) as a result of driving while intoxicated or impaired. 

In New York, the VIP is a mandatory part of ANY DWI or DWAI sentence.  Every county in NY is required to have these panels.  Some counties hold them regulary (Like in Syracuse), or hold them quarterly (like here in Ithaca)...etc

The point is --if you plead guilty to or are convicted of a DW must attend one of these classes.  

Here are a couple of pro tips: 

-show up at least half hour beforehand (if they close the doors on you --then you have VIOLATED the Court's order) 

-stay awake during presentation (or it is a violation)

-show up sober (...people have been kicked out of these things and violated for being drunk or high) 

-stay the entire time until you are dismissed 


It depends.  However, in Ithaca very recently there have been a ton of people who missed the VIP.  So Judge Miller has told all us defense lawyers in town that if our clients fail to show up and meet the criteria for the VIP, then he will IMMEDIATELY ISSUE ARREST WARRANTS for those who fail to show. 

So if you're in Ithaca and have to attend one of these....I suggest you go.

In addition to pissing off the judge, you will also have technically violated either your Conditional Discharge or Probation requirements --and can be resentenced up to the maximum of whatever crime you plead guilty to...

The consequences are harsh if you don't go to this thing.  It's easy to get to and it's a one-night commitment, but people still miss it.  

That's a bad idea for you.

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ithaca Corning DWI lawyer explains: the NY CONDITIONAL LICENSE

NY Conditional License (image courtesy of

a DWI ?

So there are a few things everybody should know about obtaining a "Pre-conviction Conditional License" (aka PCCL  --pronounced "pickle") in New York after being charged with a DWI...

1.  You are NOT eligible for a PCCL until 30 days from your ARRAIGNMENT on a DWI charge.  (that's usually your first court appearance)

2.  Where and when you can drive:

A conditional license/driving privilege is not valid to operate a taxicab or a vehicle for which a Commercial Driver License (CDL) is required.
If you receive a conditional license or conditional driving privilege, you may drive ONLY under the following circumstances
  • to and from your place of employment
  • during the hours of employment if your job requires you to drive a motor vehicle
  • to and from a Motor Vehicle office to transact business regarding the conditional license or Drinking Driver Program (DDP)
  • to and from a class or activity that is an authorized part of the DDP
  • to and from a class or course at an accredited school, college or university, or at a state-approved institution of vocational or technical training in which you are enrolled - a conditional license/driving privilege CANNOT be used to drive to and from a high school
  • to and from probation activities ordered by the court
  • during an assigned period of three consecutive hours between 5 am and 9 pm once a week - the assigned period will not be changed unless this privilege is amended
  • to and from a medical appointment that is part of necessary treatment for you or a member of your household - you must carry a written statement from your licensed medical practitioner as evidence, and show it to any police officer who asks to see it
  • to and from a child’s school/day care if the child’s attendance at the school/day care is necessary for you to maintain employment or enrollment to an accredited school, college or university, or at a state-approved institution of vocational or technical training.

3.   You must attend the DRINKING DRIVER PROGRAM (DDP) to be eligible for the PCCL.  

4.  Conditional license revocation
Your conditional license will be revoked if you are convicted of violating any conditions listed in “Where and When You May Drive” or of any moving violation, including those concerning cell phones, seat belts, or child safety seats or systems.
After the conditional license is revoked, you may continue to attend the DDP, but you must not drive under any circumstances. If you are over 21 years old and complete the program without additional convictions, your full license will be restored at the end of the program if you meet all other requirements. If you are under 21 and your conditional license is revoked, you must serve a one-year revocation even if you complete the DDP.
Your conditional license will also be revoked if you are convicted or found guilty of any additional alcohol or drug-related violation, or any other violation that usually results in license revocation. If your conditional license is revoked, you may continue to participate in the DDP without driving, but you will not be re-licensed immediately after you complete the program. The DMV will consider your re-licensing only after you have completed the DDP and have served any required revocation period.
If you are dropped from the DDP, your conditional license will be revoked. If this occurs, your original license suspension or revocation will be reinstated for its full length. To re-enter the DDP, you must obtain the consent of the DDP director.


If you are eligible for the DDP, you are probably eligible for a Conditional License.  If you get caught doing anything ELSE (speeding, running a red light, etc) during the conditional period, your driving privilege will be revoked.  

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Ithaca College Cornell DWI lawyer explains: why driving AFTER a night of drinking...can bite you.

The Hangover

WHY DRIVING AFTER a Night of Drinking...
...can be a REALLY BAD IDEA.

This can be a bad call for a couple BIG reasons... 

People metabolize alcohol into their blood differently.  This is basic science.  Women get drunker faster and more potently than men.  It's a biochemical issue that causes this big differential.  Weight affects alcohol tolerance.  So does how much you had to eat.  

Etc, etc, etc,... 

In other words, if you got really drunk and went to sleep at 3am ... and woke up to drive someplace at 8am...there is a very HIGH probability that you still have alcohol in your blood and could still be INTOXICATED or IMPAIRED.

We often have clients who forget that in New York you can be charged with Driving While Ability IMPAIRED by alcohol ---so you do not have to be at 0.08% BAC to be charged.

The only thing that can reduce the level of alcohol in your blood is TIME.  

Greasy food, coffee, medicines, or any other home remedy will NOT make you more sober. It take time. 

So be smart.  If you have to be someplace at 8am --make sure you stop drinking many hours in advance to be sure that you are stone sober when you get in your car in the morning.  

Police are watching for people between 10pm and 9am.  Especially on weekends in a college town.  

Don't get caught the morning after a good party.  Party smart.

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ithaca Corning DWI Lawyer explains How what you SAY can be used against a DWI case

THE SHIELD [Glen Close, Michael Chiklis, Anthony Anderson] {image courtesy of}


In every single interaction with the must think about this very famous phrase in our American culture... "anything you SAY can and will be used against you in a court of law."

That statement is TRUE.  

But wait -- I thought there was something in the law called "Hearsay" ?    And isn't Hearsay supposed to be bad??? 

HEARSAY -- is defined as ANY out of court statement that is offered into evidence to prove the TRUTH of what is being offered.  

That is pretty easy to understand --what makes the law of Hearsay complicated are the EXCEPTIONS to that rule... 

In the case of speaking to the police, anything you say is considered an ADMISSION BY A PARTY to the case.  

And ADMISSIONS are generally admissible into evidence.  So what does this all mean?

In a DWI case... 

If the police officer asks you "how much have  you had to drink?"  and you respond (as everybody does):  "Two beers." 

You have just admitted to consuming alcohol and your statements are admissible in the case against you.  

The judge or jury WILL BE ALLOWED TO HEAR those statements you made -- and they can come back to bite you in the criminal case.


Before you say anything to a police officer, bear in mind that those words may come back to hurt you in a case they're trying to make against you. 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ithaca Cortland DWI lawyer explains How to get a HARDSHIP License in NY

"Gooooo Greased're burnin' up the quarter mile..." (image courtesy

GETTING A HARDSHIP License AFTER getting charged with a DWI in 
New York...

So the question I always get asked by a new client is:  "Can I drive after getting charged with my DWI?"

The Answer is:  YES --but with very extreme restrictions--at least to start... 

When you are charged with a DWI in New York.... your license WILL BE SUSPENDED the first time you go in front of a Judge (in most cases).  

At the first court appearance, you are allowed to request a HARDSHIP LICENSE.  

A HARDSHIP LICENSE is a very special sort of license in NY.   It is NOT a license from the DMV.   It is a license that is given by the COURT --and it has very specific restrictions on it.


This license is only for the following 3 things: 

1.  Get from home to work and back (no delivery jobs)

2. Get to a medical appointment for yourself or an immediate family member

3.  Get to an accredited college or university program 

*I advise all of my clients that this Hardship Privilege is NOT GUARANTEED.  

We must work for it!  So to help make sure that my clients are able to continue to get to work etc, I make sure they provide several things to the Judge at the first court appearance: 

-Google maps to wherever you are going
-a MS Word Document outlining your specific driving schedule for the first 30 days after arraignment
-proof of employment
-proof of school
-proof of medical appointments etc

If you do your homework, the Court should likely give you a hardship license...

AFTER 30 can request a "Pre-Conviction Conditional License" from the DMV.  Costs $70 and requires a NYS license or an out-of-state CERTIFIED driving history (if you have an out-of-state license).  

If you do your homework and have the proper guidance, a hardship license is obtainable in the majority of cases... 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ithaca DWI lawyer explains: DWAI alcohol vs. DWAI Drug charges

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DWAI Alcohol vs.  DWAI DRUG charges in Ithaca 
(and New York)

in this video, Attorney Mike Cyr of Ithaca DWI: Defense Attorneys explains the difference between DWAI alcohol charges versus DWAI Drug charges... 

"DWAI" stands for Driving While Ability Impaired. 

Key points from the video: 

1.  DWAI alcohol is merely a VIOLATION (not a crime) --but DWAI Drug is a MISDEMANOR 

2.  The Punishment for DWAI alcohol is up to 15 days in jail...while the punishment for DWAI drugs is up to 1 YEAR IN JAIL! 

3.  In a DWAI drugs case (and not in an alcohol charge), the Prosecutor may use a highly trained drug expert against you.

If you have questions about a DWAI alcohol or drug charge, you can contact us for more information at 607-229-5184

Or find us online:
Twitter:  @ithacadwi

*This video is not intended as legal advice nor does it form any attorney-client relationship.  If you are charged with a crime, consult with a local licensed criminal defense attorney immediately. *

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ithaca lawyer explains How they prove a DWAI Drugs case WITHOUT a Blood Test!

ITHACA LAWYER explains: 
How they prove a DWAI Drug case
WITHOUT a Blood Test! 

In this video, Attorney Mike Cyr of Ithaca DWI Defense Attorneys explains how the police can prove the charge of DWAI Drugs (VTL 1192.4) WITHOUT a Blood Test...

The DWAI Drugs choice can be proven 3 ways:

1.  If the police find Drugs on You or in the Car

2.  If you ADMIT or talk about USING DRUGS before, during, or after your arrest

3.  If you submit to a "D.R.E." (Drug Recognition Evaluation) where a trained and highly qualified police officer puts you through a battery of tests to determine if you are under the influence of drugs

If you have questions about your DWAI drugs case, contact us at: 607-229-5184  

Or find us online:
Twitter:  @ithacadwi

*This video is not intended as legal advice nor does it form any attorney-client relationship.  If you are charged with a crime, consult a local licensed criminal defense attorney immediately.*

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ithaca Elmira Lawyer explains Your Driving Privilege is NOT suspended at time of DWI ARREST.

ITHACA DWI Lawyer explains:  
Your Driving Privilege will NOT 
be suspended when you're ARRESTED
for DWI

If you are charged and arrested for DWI, your driving privileges cannot be suspended UNLESS you go before a Judge and sign a piece of paper that NOTIFIES you of a driving suspension.  

Normally, this event happens at your first court appearance --and your privileges will be suspended then.   You may also be entitled to a hearing on the suspension (but most people won't have a chance at winning that hearing...)

If you have questions about your DWI case, get in touch with me and I will be happy to talk to you.  

Happy Memorial Day weekend! 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ithaca DWI lawyer explains 3 MYTHS about Plea Bargaining

MIKE CYR explains 3 MYTHS about
PLEA BARGAINING in a criminal case

Attorney Mike Cyr of Ithaca DWI: Defense Attorneys explains the 3 GREATEST MYTHS about Plea Bargaining!  

People mistakenly believe that a plea bargain is JUST a reduction of something you're charged with...that's false.  A plea bargain can be what we call a "legal fiction" where you plead guilty to something you didn't even do...because the outcome is best. 

People also mistakenly believe that when you plead guilty the charge is the only important thing.  For every case--BOTH what you plead to and the PUNISHMENT are critically important. 

People also mistakenly think that once a Prosecutor makes a plea offer...that's it.  Unfortunately, all plea bargains must be APPROVED by the JUDGE in your case.  

If you have questions, please call or email or fill out the form on our website.  607-229-5184

Find us online:
Twitter: @ithacadwi

*This video is NOT intended as legal advice nor does it form any attorney-client relationship.  If you are charged with a crime, consult with a local licensed criminal defense attorney immediately.*

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 
P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ithaca DWI lawyer explains what a PLEA OFFER is in New York


Attorney Mike Cyr of Ithaca DWI: Defense Attorneys explains what is a plea offer in New York. 

We represent Ithaca College, Cornell, and SUNY Binghamton students all the time.  We are often asked about the plea negotiation.  In this video, I explain the basic outline of the cirminal process up to a negotiation with the prosecutor.  

Most cases are resolved by plea bargains --so the negotiation is a critical part of any criminal case. 

If you have questions about a criminal matter, please call us: 607-229-5184 or find us online.
Twitter: @ithacadwi

*This video is not intended as legal advice nor does it form any attorney-client relationship.  If you are charged with a crime, consult with a local criminal defense attorney immediately.*

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ithaca Vestal DWI lawyer explains: WHAT is an Ignition Interlock Device?


I've covered violating an Ignition Interlock Device...but not the basics of what the device does and how it is used. 

WHAT IS AN Ignition Interlock Device (or "IID")? 

it is a breath analyzer device installed into a vehicle to prevent a person from starting the engine, or in some cases, continue to operate a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol. 

The driver must blow into the device BEFORE the vehicle will start.  

In most devices, there is a CAMERA installed too that records a picture of whoever is blowing into the machine--to protect against people having their friends blow into it and then drive... 

The device records a whole bunch of stuff about you:

1. Attempts to start the car
2.  The alcohol level of the person at the time of starting the car
3. The alcohol level of the driver at RANDOM intervals while driving (called "rolling tests")
4.  Attempts to circumvent or fool the device

Then, the device's memory will need to be uploaded to the computer of wherever you got it installed.  Then that provider will submit your information to the COUNTY DWI MONITOR WHERE YOU WERE SENTENCED.   You could be in California and the provider will send your info the County in New York where the Court was for your case.

Ignition Interlock Devices are a mandatory sentencing requirement in New York if you plead guilty (or are convicted) or a DWI alcohol-based misdemeanor or felony.  


IID's are no fun, but there are ways to live with them.  There are also several steps you can take to avoid problems while the device is on your car.  If you have questions about a DWI case or an IID violation, you can contact our office and we will be happy to talk to you.

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184


Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ithaca DWI lawyer explains: Lawyerin' in Seneca Falls Town Court

Seneca Falls Town Court, Copyright Cyr 2015


It's important to know the local courts you practice in.  Here's some Info on Seneca Falls Town Court.... in Seneca County.  

I was recently in Seneca Falls Town Court...couple interesting things, the Court is held in a converted Junior HIgh School --complete with a Cross on the outer rim of the building!  

Inside, they will make you GIVE UP YOUR CELL PHONE.  Which is pretty hardcore for such a rural court.  They don't even do that in Brooklyn!  

The Court is held in the gymnasium--half of which is separated by a partition.  They hold prisoners on one half of the divided gym and hold court in the other half.  It's pretty funny that there is a basketball hoop and score board over the judge's head.  

Here's the info: 

Address:  81 West Bayard St., Seneca Falls, NY 13148


Honorable Sean Laquidari  (Day Judge)

Honorable Charles (Chuck) Lafler  (Night Judge) 

Contact Info: 

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Night Court:
Every Monday 6 PM
First Arrainment and Civil

First Thursday 6 PM
DA Night

Town Court Phone:
(315) 568-9234

Town Court Fax:
(315) 568-5870

Assistant District Attorney who handles Court:  ADA Patrick Morrell 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr of Ithaca DWI: Defense Attorneys

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ithaca Elmira Seneca DWI lawyer explains: When you SHOULD REFUSE the Breath test in NY

DWI Police Breath Test (image courtesy


This is a complicated topic.  People ask me this question all the time, and the short answer is:  IT DEPENDS.  

Every case is different, and every situation is different.  My best advice on this topic is to consult with a DWI attorney if you encounter this problem.  *You can ask the police to call your lawyer from the station.*

Unfortunately, many DWI arrests happen in the middle of the night where you cannot get a DWI attorney on the phone...or are too drunk to think about it.  

*You should also be aware that there are specific penalties both civil and in the criminal case if you REFUSE... 

For example, you automatically lose your license for a long period of time, you will owe significant civil fines, and most importantly, the prosecutor can use the evidence of your refusal as evidence of your guilt in the criminal case. *

I'll go through a few SPECIFIC SCENARIOS where REFUSING the breath/blood test would probably be in your best interests.  Again, it depends on the county and circumstances in each case...

1.  If you are facing a FELONY-level DWI charge.  You should PROBABLY refuse the breath/blood test. 

If you had a child in the car or were in an accident where somebody was seriously injured or killed someone, (or it is your SECOND DWI charge within a 10 year period), then it is probably in your best interest to REFUSE. 

The lack of a BAC number will make it harder for the Government to prosecute you, but not impossible.  Also, the penalties for felony-level charges are WAY WORSE than the consequences you will face for refusing the test.  It is a cost vs. benefit analysis.  

If you killed someone, then the police/court may COMPEL you to give a sample of your blood/breath.  So refusing will make no difference.

2.  If you are absolutely DRUNK OUT OF YOUR MIND, it is PROBABLY in your best interests to not have a BAC number to fight. 

Again, everybody is different.  We all metabolize and handle alcohol differently.  However, if you believe that you are really super drunk and your BAC % will be VERY HIGH, then it is probably in your best interests to refuse the test.  

This can help limit your criminal liability and give your defense attorney a fighting chance to lower the charge against you --if the police officers are not good on the witness stand.  You should know that sometimes a Refusal causes some local District Attorney's Offices to PUNISH YOU and PROSECUTE YOUR CASE HARDER... on principle.  

They don't want to give people a break for refusing the tests and the refusal makes prosecutors' jobs harder... 


-if you are charged with a DWI misdemeanor and have a CDL (commercial driver's license), take the test

[Refusing will make it harder to obtain a conditional license and you would have to remain on the conditional license for much longer than if you had just taken the breath test]

-if you have only had a couple of drinks over several hours (and your BAC number will be below 0.08%), take the test.  

[If your BAC number is below 0.08% or very close to it, then you will still likely face a criminal charge or violation, but your case is more likely to be negotiated to a good outcome by your DWI attorney]


These are general thoughts on when to REFUSE or TAKE THE BREATH TEST in a DWI case.  Consult with a DWI defense lawyer for the best advice on your particular situation.  Each case varies in each county where you are charged...because the prosecutors and police are different (and so are their sentencing policies).

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184


Twitter:   @ithacadwi 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ithaca DWI lawyer explains the meaning of an ACD in NY


An ACD is:  an Adjournment in Contemplation of DIsmissal

Basically, it is up to a 1 year delay in your case where you must stay out of trouble or the Court/Prosecutor can reopen your case.  

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184


Twitter:   @ithacadwi