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Things to Know if Charged With New York Drunk Driving



Whether you live in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan or elsewhere in New York City, if you are charged with being a New York drunk driver, you will want to learn about New York City drunk driving law.

This article will explain things you need to know if charged with New York drunk driving. It will also help you understand how to hire a New York City DUI attorney.

What Is New York City Drunk Driving?

In New York, the crime of driving drunk is known as DWI. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated.

To be charged with a New York DWI, your blood-alcohol content (BAC) must be .08 or higher. BAC is the measure of alcohol in your bloodstream. A BAC of .08 means that your blood contains eight one-hundredths of a percent of alcohol.

Even if your BAC is less than .08, you can still be charged with driving while ability impaired or DWAI. If your BAC is between .05 and less than .08 and an officer pulls you over, you may be charged with committing DWAI in New York.

If you are under the age of 21, you can be charged with drunk driving as long as your BAC is at least .02.

There is also something called aggravated DWI. Under New York drunk driving laws, if your BAC is .18 or higher, you will be charged with aggravated DWI. Penalties for aggravated DWI are more severe than those for DWI.

What Is Leandra's Law?

In 2009, the New York legislature passed an act known as Leandra's Law. This law added new provision to the existing New York drunk driving laws.

These new provisions include:

  • Those arrested for DWI with a child under 16 in the car face class E felony charges
  • Those charged with DWI with a child under 16 in the car automatically have their license suspended pending prosecution
  • Those convicted of DWI must install an ignition interlock device. An ignition interlock device is a mechanism that disables a car until the driver passes a BAC test.
  • Drunk drivers who cause the death of a passenger under 16 may be charged with a class B felony
  • Drunk drivers who cause serious injury to passengers under 16 may be charged with a class C felony
  • Parents, custodians and guardians who are caught driving drunk with a child in the car are reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment

New York DWI Penalties

If you are convicted of drunk driving in New York City, you will face:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000
  • License suspension for six months minimum
  • Mandatory alcohol evaluation

If you are convicted twice of a New York City DWI, you will be charged with a class E felony. Punishments include:

  • Jail time for five days to four years or 30 days community service
  • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
  • License suspension for at least one year
  • Mandatory alcohol evaluation

If you are convicted of a New York City DWI for a third time, you will be charged with a class D felony. Punishments include:

  • Jail time for 10 days to seven years or 60 days community service
  • Fines from $2,000 to $10,000
  • License suspension for at least a year
  • Mandatory alcohol evaluation

The New York Implied Consent Law

After you are pulled over by a New York City police officer on suspicion of drunk driving, he will probably conduct a field sobriety test. A field sobriety test helps the officer determine if you are impaired. Standard field sobriety tests include standing on one foot and walking in a straight line.

If you do poorly on the test, the officer may arrest you for drunk driving. When he takes you back to the police station, you will have to undergo a BAC test. This BAC test may test your blood, another bodily substance or your breath.

If you refuse to take this test, you will suffer severe consequences. New York has an implied consent law. This means that when you received your driver's license, your agreement to take a BAC test if asked by authorities was implied.

Refusal to take the test will result in immediate license suspension. You will also be subject to a civil penalty of $500.

Hiring a New York City DUI Attorney

After your DWI arrest, you will want to seek out an experienced drunk driving attorney to represent you. Either you or someone you trust should take the necessary steps to investigate attorneys.

To begin your search, ask friends and family member for referrals. Find out if anyone has used a New York City DWI attorney in the past.

You can also use a site like Attorneys.com. With Attorneys.com, you fill out an online questionnaire. We will then connect you with at least one New York City DWI attorney in your area.

You then should set up meetings with the attorneys. At these initial meetings, you will want to ask questions to help you make a hiring decision. Questions to ask include:

  • How long has the attorney worked on New York City drunk driving cases?
  • How much of his business is New York City drunk driving cases?
  • Has he ever handled a case like yours?
  • What does the lawyer think of your case?
  • What is the attorney's fee arrangement? How much does he cost?

Once you have questioned all the attorneys you are interested in, make a hiring decision. You should not only hire an attorney with a lot of experience, but you should also hire an attorney that you trust.