When it comes to rules, most of us don't like to be told what to do or how to live our lives. While we may feel that way, we know that some rules are imperative for keeping ourselves safe and watching out for the safety of others. When it comes to getting behind the wheel, simple rules we've heard over the years like 'look both ways' or “Wear you're seat belt” have been embedded in our minds. There are things we just know not to do like speeding in a school zone or running red lights, even though we are probably all offenders. The most important driving rule that everyone should respect when it comes to driving, is not to drink and drive. There is no exception to this rule. Just don't do it!
In the State of New York, one third of automobile fatalities involve impaired or intoxicated drivers. If you are caught drinking and driving, you are no longer in the hands of traffic court. It is a criminal offense and you will be arrested and sent to stand before a Criminal Judge. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or any mind altering substance is a serious offense.
Understanding the Law- DWI's and other Important Convictions
Your driving ability and judgment are impaired when you consume any amount of alcohol. The level of impairment depends on certain conditions:
- Amount of alcohol you consume
- Amount of food you eat before or while you're drinking
- Length of time you drink
- Body weight & Gender
In the State of NY, a DWI (Driving while Intoxicated) is defined by reaching .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). There are also different offenses which include DWAI (Driving while Ability Impaired). In this case, it is considered a crime to reach a BAC of .05 to .07.
For drivers under 21, it is illegal at at BAC of only .02. while it violates the “Zero Tolerance Law”. The impairment convictions applies to drugs as well. The penalties include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail time. It is also very illegal to drive under the influence of altering substances while children are in the car. This law, called Leandra's Law, was signed into law in 2009.
Don't Open that Container
It is illegal in New York State for any driver or passenger to possess an alcoholic beverage with intent to consume. This law is identified as the “Open Container” Law. If you get pulled over and the police officer believes that you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol he could request for you to take a field sobriety test. A driver who refuses to take a breath test or blood/urine test can get their license revoked for up to a year and must pay a hefty fine.
The STOP-DWI Law
Drinking and Driving awareness and criminal prosecution are more effective as a result of New York State's STOP-DWI law. Every county in New York has a STOP-DWI program. The law uses the fines collected to run education programs for drinking/driving awareness as well as programs to assist in assessing the convicted. These programs also provide more police cars patrolling the streets, more district attorneys prosecuting impaired drivers, and more judges taking on drinking/driving proceedings.
Why you need to get a Lawyer
If you've been convicted of a DWI or an similar offense, call an experienced attorney to defend your rights. Whether you or a family member has been charged with DWI first offense or if it is a subsequent offense, it is necessary to have a defense lawyer in order to help you obtain the best resolution for your case. DWI Lawyers have years of education and knowledge of drinking and driving laws and will conduct a complete investigation of your case and determine how to present the most compelling defense on your behalf. You may have certain rights and privileges during your prosecution that you may otherwise have been unaware of.