Drunk driving accidents account for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. That stat alone may lead some to think twice before drinking and driving, but many continue to do it anyway.
Laws for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be harsh in New York and are set up to punish people who put themselves and others at risk by driving drunk. However, the rights of many people stopped under suspicion of DWI can often be violated by officers.
DWI charges in New York
New York offenses for driving drunk can bring a fine of up to $1,000 and one year in jail for a first offense and fall under several categories, including:
- DWI: Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher
- Aggravated DWI: BAC of 0.18% or higher
- DWAI/Alcohol: Driving while ability impaired when a BAC is between 0.05% and 0.07%, or other impairment is detected
- DWAI/Drugs: Driving under the influence of street drugs, prescription medications and other substances besides alcohol
- Sobriety test refusal: Drivers can refuse field sobriety and chemical tests, but refusal can lead to a suspended license and a steeper fine
- Zero tolerance law: Anyone under the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.02% or higher
How to handle traffic stops
Drivers suspected of DWI have rights when stopped by officers. Here are four tips to follow if pulled over:
- Be cordial with the officer and remain calm
- Do not admit to drinking or provide specifics about how much alcohol, if any, has been consumed
- Do not agree to let officers search a vehicle
- Remember critical details from the interaction with police
Find experienced legal representation
A DWI conviction can lead to jail time, costly fines and fees and other related costs, including doubled and tripled insurance rates, or coverage being denied in some cases. An experienced defense attorney here in New York can protect a driver’s rights by making sure an officer had probable cause to stop the vehicle and correctly performed sobriety tests and other procedures. A successful defense can lead to reduced fines and jail time and the potential for charges to be dropped.