If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol, you may face serious fines, penalties, jail time, and the loss of your license. Additionally, if convicted, you may also find that the charge will follow you for years to come and may negatively affect your employment prospects, insurance rates, and other aspects of your life. It is important to understand the DWI/DUI laws in New York and to seek compensation from an experienced defense attorney to protect your legal rights.
DWI/DUI Laws in New York
In 1910, the first law against drunk driving was passed in New York and other states began to follow suit shortly thereafter. However, the first drunk driving laws were not what are enforced today. Instead, they prohibited drunk driving as a whole without a maximum blood alcohol level or any specific procedure for testing coordination or sobriety. Judges and police officers were responsible for enforcing the law as they deemed fit.
In 1938, the first maximum blood alcohol concentration was enforced at 0.15%; the level was subsequently lowered to 0.10% and to 0.08% in 1996 and 2003, respectively. Each new limit was selected following scientific research that concluded that drivers just under the limit would be able to operate their motor vehicles reasonably well without risk of accidents or injuries.
Not many people know that they may still be arrested for drunk driving even if they have a BAC of less than .08%. This is the case if the arresting officer believes that they are intoxicated based on certain circumstances such as slurred speech, red or watery eyes, an odor of alcohol, or allegations of bad driving. Drivers may face a driving-while-intoxicated or driving-under-the-influence charge, as well as convictions, if they are operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or another non-alcoholic substance.
Today, DUI and DWI enforcement in New York has never been stricter. There are severe penalties for driving with a high BAC, such as an aggravated DWI for those with a BAC of 0.18% or higher. Drivers may be charged with a felony if they have prior DWI convictions, regardless of whether they are residents of New York. However, drivers may still face felony charges if they are driving while intoxicated for the first time and minor children under the age of 15 are present during the time in which the driver allegedly committed the offense. This law, known as Leandra’s Law, or the Child Passenger Protection Act, was unanimously passed by the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate before it was signed in November 2009.
Whether you are stopped at a checkpoint, pulled over during a routine traffic stop, or otherwise accused of driving while intoxicated, the attending officer may request that you submit to a Breathalyzer test either on the side of the road or at the police station. You may also be asked to perform a coordination or sobriety test in front of a video camera. Should you refuse to take these tests, you may face an automatic suspension of your license, and your refusal may be used as evidence against you in a court of law.
DWI Penalties in New York
The following is a list of the DUI charges that you could face as well as the maximum jail term and the consequences that each charge could have on your driver’s license:
- Driving while impaired: 15 days, 90-day suspension
- Second driving while impaired in 5 years: 30 days, six-month revocation
- Aggravated DWI: One year, one-year revocation
- Driving while impaired by a drug: One year, 6-month revocation
- Driving while intoxicated: One year, one-year revocation
- Second DWI in 10 years: 4 years, 18-month revocation
- Third DWI in 10 years: 7 years, permanent revocation
Contact Jason A. Steinberger Today
If you have been convicted of a DWI or DUI in New York and you wish to learn more about your rights, contact Jason Steinberger as soon as possible. With years of experience in criminal defense, I have handled more than 3,000 cases for my clients, and I will work hard to help protect you throughout the legal process. I am available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I will always promptly return your phone call if I am assisting another client. Contact me today at (646) 256-1007 to take the first step in securing the legal counsel of an experienced defense attorney who is willing to defend.