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Advice From the New York DMV About Drunk Driving Laws

If you live in New York, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV) provides some helpful information and advice on its website and in pamphlet form regarding the dangers of drinking and driving. The NYSDMV has good reason to do so—one-third of the fatalities in New York State involve alcohol. Drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent are four times more likely to cause a crash than drivers who are not drinking.

Sobering Facts

The website also provides advice about the effects of consuming alcohol. According to the NYSDMV, the quickest way to sober up is . . . well there isn't any quick way. The only way to regain sobriety is to wait for your body to eliminate the alcohol in your system. Neither coffee, cold showers, nor long walks will accomplish this. They will make you feel more alert, but your level of impairment will remain until the alcohol is eliminated. The website notes that the body can eliminate the alcohol in one drink in approximately one hour. The best thing to do if you have been drinking and need to travel is to get a ride with someone who has not been drinking or to call a cab.

Alcohol Impairment

The degree of impairment depends upon several factors. The amount of alcohol consumed and length of time during which it was consumed are two obvious factors. Body weight and what you have had to eat before drinking may not be as obvious. The amount of food you have eaten actually slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

DUI Law and Procedures

The website also provides some interesting information about how DUI cases are handled after a driver is charged. First, New York law generally prohibits plea bargains in order to avoid a DUI conviction. Drivers who refuse to take a blood alcohol test will have their licenses suspended for one year and will be subject to a civil penalty of $500. (Drivers under the age of 21 are subject to a $125 civil penalty.) New York also has a "Zero Tolerance" law for underage drinking. If you are younger than 21 years old, your license can be suspended, and you can be fined if your BAC is .02 percent or higher. The legal limit for those ages 21 or older is .08 percent.