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Long IslandCrime

LI lawyer Michael DerGarabedian charged with DWI, police say

Michael DerGarabedian, a prominent Long Island defense attorney,

Michael DerGarabedian, a prominent Long Island defense attorney, is seen on July 10, 2014, in Mineola. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Long Island attorney Michael DerGarabedian was arrested Friday night by Nassau County police in Old Brookville and charged with drunken driving, according to police and court records.

DerGarabedian, 54, of Pound Hollow Road in Old Brookville, was taken into custody at 9:05 p.m., Nassau County police said.

He was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, according to police and court records. DerGarabedian was arraigned Saturday in First District Court in Hempstead and was released on $500 bail, a court official said.

DerGarabedian, reached by telephone Saturday, referred questions to his lawyer. Messages left for his listed attorney were not returned.

The arresting officer, in a deposition, said police received a phone call about 8:40 p.m. that a black BMW had almost hit a pole and curb near a KFC restaurant, located on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale. The caller trailed the BMW and reported to police that it narrowly missed a pedestrian, signs and several vehicles.

The police officer, in the deposition, said he had his cruiser’s lights and siren going when he tried to pull over a black 2015 BMW X5 at the intersection of Glen Cove and Glen Head roads. The driver stopped momentarily but resumed going north on Glen Cove Road and turned onto Pound Hollow Road in Old Brookville. At that point, the vehicle stopped and the officer approached.

DerGarabedian, the driver and only occupant, had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, the officer’s deposition said. Asked to exit the car, the lawyer was “very unsteady on his feet,” his breath had a “slight odor” of alcohol and he had trouble following directions, the deposition said. He repeatedly put his hand in a left front pocket after being instructed not to do so, the officer said.

Asked to take a breath-alcohol test, DerGarabedian responded, “I am an attorney and don’t want to take any tests,” the deposition said.

A white sport utility vehicle pulled up, and a woman — whom the officer identified as DerGarabedian’s wife — “did stop and jump out yelling at defendant.” The officer asked her to leave the scene; upon getting in the SUV, she said, “He drives drunk all the time. I am thankful,” the deposition said.

DerGarabedian has represented clients in a number of drunken driving and high-profile cases across Long Island.

Most recently, he defended Deepak Kumar, 19, of New Hyde Park, who was sentenced in July to 4 years in prison for a 2014 drunken driving crash that killed a 55-year-old California man and injured the man’s wife and daughter. He also represented Roosevelt-born rapper Flava Flav, who in 2014 was indicted on felony charges of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; the rapper ultimately pleaded guilty to unlicensed driving.

In 2015, DerGarabedian represented Cosmin Florea, then 34, of Baldwin, who pleaded guilty to hitting a pedestrian while drunk and under the influence of marijuana and fleeing the scene in 2014. He also was the lawyer for Raymond Balboa, then 53, of Baldwin, who pleaded guilty to operating a boat while impaired in a fatal 2014 crash.

In addition, DerGarabedian was the attorney for retired NYPD Officer Michael Elardo of Syosset. Elardo, then 48, was sentenced in October 2014 to up to 4 years in prison for striking and killing a 13-year-old girl with Down syndrome in Levittown and fleeing the scene. Prosecutors had said they had “credible information” that Elardo had been drinking before the crash, but he was not charged with DWI.

DerGarabedian has a law degree from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and has practiced law in New York State since 1990, according to court records. He is founder and owner of the law firm DerGarabedian, Nathan, Marino & Rodriguez in Rockville Centre, according to his biography on the firm’s website.

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