A Buffalo driver arrested for a felony level drinking and driving offense faces very severe consequences.
Because felony level offenses are considered very serious, New York State requires that cases involving potential felonies be screened by a grand jury before the prosecution may proceed with any felony charges.
The grand jury process is different from the trial jury process that most people are familiar with.
Because the purpose of the grand jury is to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with the felony level charges – not to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty – the prosecution generally is allowed to present their best case to the jurors without any rebuttal or response from the defense.
Neither the defendant nor the defendant’s attorney has any right to be present in the grand jury room during the prosecution’s presentation and, while it has happened in rare cases, it would be very unusual for the prosecution to agree to place the defendant on the stand to testify.
Instead, the prosecution will usually only present evidence for the grand jury’s consideration that tends to support the felony DWI charges.
This typically includes the testimony of the arresting officer and anyone involved in conducting a breath test or blood test.
In most felony cases, the prosecution also must submit proof that the driver has a prior misdemeanor or felony level drinking and driving offense within the past ten years.
If the grand jury finds that the evidence presented by the prosecution tends to support that a felony level drinking and driving offense was committed by the defendant, it may indict the defendant.
The case will then proceed in the county court based on the charges brought by the grand jury.
Anyone arrested for felony drinking and driving should seek the help of an experienced DWI lawyer.
If you need legal help, call us at 585-484-7432 for a legal consultation.