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Drunk driving charges: What you need to know in New York State

Cabs, subways, call a friend: many options better than a DWI arrest. However, mistakes happen and DWI arrests occur. Officially, the broad charges are driving under the influence (DUI); but this subject is broken into a number of specific infractions. Alcohol consumption fuels the driving while intoxicated (DWI) array of possible charges.

DWI considers age and Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) as evidence of this serious crime.

  • Age 21 years old or older tolerates up to .08% BAC, unless
  • Driving a commercial vehicle, then it drops to .04%
  • Younger than 21 is zero tolerance as defined by less than .02% BAC.

Under the above circumstances, you can expect to have your driver's license suspended, to pay a fine of up to $500 for a first offense, and jail time. BAC less than threshold level or other factors can lead to a CWAI/alcohol charge. Officially, this charge is driving while ability impaired by alcohol consumption.

· Drugs, other than alcohol, bring a charge of DWI Drugs.

· DWAI/combination is driving while ability impaired by both drugs and alcohol.

· Aggravated DWI means the BAC was elevated above .18%.

Each of these charges can lead to jail time, fines, license suspensions or revocations for first offenses.

So, why voluntarily take the breathalyzer test and be subject to these convictions?

Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test is an additional charge. It may be harder to convict on the DUI, but the penalties for refusal are a one-year suspension of license and a five hundred dollar fine. These fines and penalties, loss of driving privileges, placement into the drunk driving program, are significant penalties for first time offenders. Penalties become stricter for repeat offenses.

Once found guilty of a first offense, the penalties rise to long jail sentences and massive fines. Get a lawyer who knows the laws and protocols established for a proper arrest. Protect your rights as the accused before court. Avoid these arrests by not drinking and driving, please; but fight any of these charges with a solid advocate at your side.

For these reasons, good defense against the charge is critical. Contact a lawyer immediately upon any arrest for driving under the influence. Do not fight these charges alone.

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Suffolk County Defenders Association New York State Defenders Association | Founded 1967 New York State Bar Association Suffolk County Bar Association | NY 1908

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