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3 facts to know about DWI laws in New York

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2021 | DWI

New York is a great place to live, but it has some serious drunk driving charges among its many laws. When a Buffalo resident is stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, they may end up with an arrest for a DWI crime. This post will introduce readers to some of the DWI laws that New York recognizes, but none of the information contained herein should be used or read as legal advice. A criminal defense attorney is a good resource for a person who is concerned about how to address and manage their pending DWI charge.

Fact #1: New York recognizes a per se blood alcohol concentration limit

Drinking and driving is dangerous, but a drink can impact different drivers in drastically different ways. For example, a single drink may cause a small individual to feel its effects but do little to change the intoxication of a large person. Similarly, different individuals may metabolize or process alcohol differently which can alter their blood alcohol concentration.

New York and many other jurisdictions disregard these differences by implementing a per se level for blood alcohol at which a person is considered too drunk to safely drive. In New York, that level is .08%. If a person is stopped and found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08%, even if they do not appear drunk, they can be arrested.

Fact #2: There is a different and more stringent standard for underage drivers

In New York, individuals are not permitted to legally consume alcohol until they are 21 years old. If an underage person drinks and drives, they can be arrested if their blood alcohol concentration is at or above .02%. That is significantly lower than the per se limit discussed above. A drunk driving arrest and conviction on one’s record before turning 21 years old can have long-term and devastating consequences on their future.

Fact #3: New York DWI penalties are heavy

Drunk driving is taken seriously under New York law, and to deter drivers from engaging in the practice, it penalizes alleged drunk drivers significantly for breaking the rules. A person can face the following sanctions for DWI convictions in New York:

  • License suspensions of different lengths based on the number of DWI convictions a person has in their history:
  • Vehicle confiscation or requirement to install an ignition interlock device;
  • Education and assessment programs on alcohol programs; and
  • Enhanced penalties for individuals convicted of aggravated DWI crimes.

Drunk driving and DWI laws in the state are both confusing and intimidating. A person can lose their right to drive, have a conviction on their record, and face other challenges all from a single alleged drunk driving incident. When DWI arrests happen, it is important that drivers remember that they do not have to face their legal challenges alone. They can choose to work with committed New York-based criminal defense attorneys, who can support them as they build cases to protect and defend their rights.