Consequences of Driving Under the Influence

As law enforcement continues to crack down on driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses, it is important to understand the consequences surrounding these charges. Should you be pulled over by a police officer in New York for suspected intoxication, serious penalties could arise with fees mounting into the thousands, along with a revocation of driving privileges, and possible jail time, if you are found guilty.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NY DMV), the level of impairment is dependent on a number of factors:

  • The amount of alcohol consumed
  • The length of time spent drinking
  • Food intake before and during alcohol consumption
  • Body weight
  • Gender/Sex

The legal driving limit for alcohol consumption in persons 21 years of age and older rests at .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). Blood alcohol levels are determined by using a breathalyzer device. If your blood alcohol content exceeds the acceptable limits while operating a vehicle, you leave yourself vulnerable to arrest and could potentially endanger the lives of others around you. The NY DMV outlines DWI thresholds as:

  • 08% – 21 and older
  • 04% – if operating a commercial vehicle
  • 02% – younger than 21

Those charged with a DWI below the age of 21 fall under New York State’s Zero Tolerance Policy which has adopted the slogan “U drink, U drive, U lose”. Although the policy seems definitive by name, zero tolerance does allow for some leeway. The blood alcohol level for persons under 21 years of age is in fact not 0 but 0.02% – 0.07% due to the presence of alcohol in certain cough medicines and mouthwashes. However, should an underage drinker be stopped by law enforcement and breathalyzed, the 0.02 percentage rating will still require them to attend an administrative hearing in order for them to explain their circumstances to a judge. For anyone who has exceeded a level of 0.05%, criminal court proceedings will take place and could lead to a charge of driving while ability is impaired by alcohol (DWAI). Any individuals below the legal drinking age that meet or exceed a limit of 0.08% will be charged with DWI and have their driver’s license suspended.

Regardless of age or prior conviction of DWI, any persons refusing a chemical test at the time of their traffic stop will be subject to license suspension. Upon the first refusal, the involved party will have their license suspended for 1-year. After a second refusal, penalties for suspension increase to 18-months and depending on whether the involved party has had two refusals, two DWI convictions, or one of each within the same year, their license may be subject to permanent revocation.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a DWI, DUI, or any other driver intoxication violations, it is important that you speak to an experienced Long Island traffic lawyer who can advise you of your legal options and prepare you for court proceedings. The attorneys at McGuire, Pelaez & Bennett, PC, are dedicated to aiding their clients through the legal process to ensure that they receive the representation they deserve. To learn more about our firm or to schedule a consultation, call our office at (631) 348-1702 or fill out our contact form.

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