More than 30,000 drivers are arrested for impaired driving in New York every year. And every year, the lives of those 30,000 people and those around them suffer the consequences.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer. DUI and DWI offenses are rarely subject to any type of plea agreement. You need an attorney who can help you pursue the best available outcome.
An impaired driving conviction does not just affect you. It also affects your personal relationships, your job, your finances, and your future. It becomes part of a record that will follow you for the rest of your life.
If you have been arrested for DUI or DWI, time is of the essence. For more than 45 years, at the Law Offices of Douglas M. Reda, I have used my previous experience with criminal prosecution to defend clients in Commack, Woodbury, Central Islip, and throughout the New York counties of Suffolk and Nassau against a variety of criminal charges, including impaired driving.
Reach out to me at the Law Offices of Douglas M. Reda today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
In New York, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is an umbrella term that includes specific types of charges. There are two impaired driving offenses in the state, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). Under state law, anyone operating a vehicle in the state gives implied consent to submit to chemical testing if arrested for DWI or DWAI.
In New York, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .08%, but you can be charged with DWAI if your BAC is more than .05% but less than .07%, or if you exhibit any other signs of impairment.
For commercial vehicle operators, the legal limit is .04%. For those under 21 years of age, the legal BAC is .02%, but the state has a zero-tolerance law for underage offenders.
In all, there are seven types of alcohol and drug-related driving offenses:
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI) (BAC of .18%)
Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol)
Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug Other Than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug)
Driving While Ability Impaired by Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination)
Chemical Test Refusal
Zero Tolerance Law (for drivers under 21 years of age)
Leandra’s Law applies to convictions when a passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the stop. Offenders can be charged with a Class E felony and serve up to four years in prison. If the child sustains serious injuries as a result of the driver’s impairment, the driver may be charged with a Class C felony and serve up to 15 years in prison. If the child dies, the driver can be charged with a Class B felony and serve up to 25 years in prison.
You may be pulled over if a law enforcement officer believes you are impaired. The officer may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. You have the right to refuse this test, but you will likely be arrested, and your refusal will be disclosed in court.
You may also refuse to submit to a chemical test to establish your BAC, but you will face consequences for the refusal. The first refusal will result in a one-year license revocation, a $500 fine, a $250 Driver Responsibility Assessment fee each year for three years, and a $100 license reinstatement fee. A second refusal increases the license revocation to 18 months and the fine to $750, plus the other two fees. A third refusal will result in license revocation for an indefinite amount of time.
If a driver is under the age of 21, law enforcement only needs to suspect the driver has consumed alcohol or drugs to have them submit to a chemical test. A refusal or positive test results in a one-year license revocation, a $500 fine, and a $100 license reinstatement fee.
Penalties for convictions are based upon age, blood alcohol content, and the number of previous convictions. In general, a first offense results in a lighter penalty than a second offense, and a lower blood alcohol content results in a lighter penalty than a higher percentage.
For example, a conviction for DWAI with a BAC of .05-.07% is a traffic infraction that could result in fines of $300-$500, up to 15 days in jail, and a 90-day license suspension. A second conviction increases the fines to $500-$750, up to 30 days in jail, and a minimum six-month license revocation.
Penalties for a first conviction for DWI or DWAI is a misdemeanor and includes fines of $500-$1,000, license revocation for a minimum of six months, and up to one year in jail. A second offense is a Class E felony that can increase the fines to $1,000-$5,000, the license revocation to a one-year minimum, and results in up to four years in jail and/or community service.
A first conviction for Aggravated DWI is a misdemeanor while a second within a 10-year period is a Class E felony with higher fines and a longer license revocation than offenses with a lower BAC.
Whether you are convicted of a first-offense misdemeanor or a felony impaired driving charge, you will be required to install an Interlock Ignition Device on any vehicle you own — at your own expense — to be able to drive if you are granted a conditional driver’s license.
The device connects to your ignition system. You must blow into the device to start the vehicle, but if the device measures any alcohol on your breath, the vehicle will not start.
Whether this is your first, second, or third offense for DWI, you can benefit from the experienced and knowledgeable legal representation I provide at the Law Offices of Douglas M. Reda.
Many drivers make the mistake of getting behind the wheel when they are impaired. They can avoid making a second costly mistake by hiring a criminal defense lawyer to help them navigate the legal process and pursue the best available result. The penalties, even with a first offense, cost far too much and last throughout your lifetime.
A drunk driving charge can negatively affect the rest of your life. If you have been arrested for a DWI or another impaired driving offense in Commack, Woodbury, Central Islip, or throughout the New York counties of Nassau and Suffolk, take immediate action to prepare your defense. Call me at the Law Offices of Douglas M. Reda for help now.