Justin Timberlake Arrested For DWI In Sag Harbor And Makes A Huge Mistake

On June 18, 2024, Justin Timberlake was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) on Madison Street in Sag Harbor after leaving the American Hotel a few minutes earlier. The police officer initially saw his gray 2025 BMW weave out of a lane and then run a stop sign. According to the police report, Timberlake displayed “bloodshot and glassy” eyes and a “strong odor” of alcohol on his breath, and was unsteady on his feet. This led to his arrest where he made a huge mistake…he refused to submit to an alcohol test.

So why was this a mistake?

First, we need to explain that there are two types of tests. There is the portable breath test usually administered during the car stop (the so-called “breathalyzer”) and the chemical test at the precinct after you are arrested. The latter is the more important one as this is the one that can and will be used against you in court. The below thoughts refer to the “precinct blow”.

Critically, you need to know that a driver who unjustifiably refuses a precinct breathalyzer test faces a potential 12-month loss of one’s driver’s license. This loss of license period must be compared to a DWI conviction without a refusal. Without a refusal, the loss of license period for a DWI conviction is “only’ 6 months. As explained below, it is usually a big mistake to refuse to blow as you double your loss of license time.

If you’re very drunk, my suggestion is to refrain from blowing. By consenting to the breathalyzer when you are severely inebriated, you might be furnishing evidence that your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was high enough to warrant a more serious charge of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated. This offense is given to those who allegedly have BACs over .18 (per VTL 1192.2-a) and carries a possible jail term of up to 1 year. Further, blowing an excessive amount could lead the prosecutor to refuse to make a plea offer (or make a less favorable one). Likewise, it could also irk the judge and count against you during sentencing. By abstaining from blowing, the prosecutor and judge might not have a clear picture of your level of intoxication.

On the contrary, if you’ve had a few drinks and might not exceed the legal limit, I strongly recommend consenting to the test. If you blow below the legal limit (.08 for DWI and .05 for Driving While Impaired in New York), you can continue on your way. Even if you blow slightly above either limit, it may not be significantly over, and you might eventually receive a plea deal to a lesser charge. If you refuse to blow in some jurisdictions in New York, the prosecutor may not make any plea offer.

Bottom line, always blow except if you are VERY drunk. If you refuse, you can lose your license for 12-months rather than “only” 6 months.

It’s important to understand that the advice given here focuses on the criminal repercussions of drinking and driving. There are also civil penalties imposed by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, and potential civil lawsuits if there was personal injury or property damage. These issues are not covered by this article.

Of course, the best outcome is to avoid driving whenever they’ve consumed any amount of alcohol. It is simply not worth the risk, and the potential consequences—both to yourself and others—are too grave.

The American Hotel, Main Street, Sag Harbor, New York
BDEYPA The American Hotel, Main Street, Sag Harbor, New York
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Robert Roth
    June 24, 2024 9:32 am

    An unanswered question is why the Sag Harbor police did not seek a court order compelling a blood test.

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      June 24, 2024 9:44 am

      Robert,

      As always, thanks for posting your comment.

      In my experience, blood tests are not routinely done for DWI cases in New York. Most police departments rely on the breathalyzer results. Two exceptions involve when the defendant is unable (ex. he or she is unconscious) and/or when there is accident that results in serious injury or death.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply

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