Driving while Intoxicated - Drugs and Alcohol

What is Driving while Intoxicated?

Driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) means that you are impaired by drugs or alcohol when you are driving. You are impaired if you cannot multitask, as this an essential skill as a driver. For example, when a driver approaches a stop light, he is expected to use his hands to steer within one lane, see the stoplight, and use his foot to press the breaks, all at the same time.

There are different levels of DWIs charged in New York. A DWI Per Se means that you gave a breath sample that showed the presence of alcohol by .08% or more.[1] Other related offenses include Driving While Ability Impaired (“DWAI”), which mean that you were observed to have signs of intoxication and/or performed poorly on the field sobriety tests given to you by the police officer.[2]

What are the Consequences?

The District Attorney will charge you with a DUI if you performed poorly on the field sobriety tests given to you by the police officer or gave a blood sample that showed the presence of drugs or alcohol. The consequences depend on the amount of drugs or alcohol found in your blood, why you were stopped (ie: collision versus headlight), and whether you have any prior DWI offenses. Most Per Se DWIs are charged as misdemeanors, carrying a punishment of: a) one year or less in jail, b) fines of $500-$1,000, and c) revocation of your drivers license for at least six months

In considering your punishment and charge, the District Attorney’s office in New York will look at if you have any prior DWI offenses. For example, if this is your second DWI within the last ten years, then you are facing a class E felony, carrying a punishment of: a) 1 1/3- 4 years in jail, b) fines of $1,000-$5,000, and c) revocation of your license for at least one year. If this is your third DWI within the last ten years, then you are facing a class D felony, carrying a punishment of: a) 2 1/3 – 7 years of jail, b) fines of $2,000-$10,000, and c) revocation of your license for at least one year. A DWI offense will never rise above a class D felony.

In addition to prior DWI offenses, the District Attorney uses other factors to enhance your punishment and charge you with an Aggravated DWI. For example, if you drive with a blood alcohol content of .18%, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, and have your license revoked for at least one year versus the standard six months. If you drive with a minor in the car, you will be charged with a class E felony, carrying a punishment of: 1 1/3-4 years in jail, fines of $1,000-$5,000, and revocation of your license for at least 18 months.[3]

If your blood alcohol level is less than .08% and your arrest is based solely on observations and/or field sobriety tests by the police officer, then you will be charged with DWAI. DWAI is charged as violation,[4] unless you have been convicted more than two times within the last ten years. In this case, you would be charged with a misdemeanor.

How We Can Help You

If you want to win your DWI or DWAI case, Lavy Law is the best firm to help you. As a trial attorney who has won 100% of DUI cases at trial with every kind of defense, we knows how to win your case before a jury or judge. As a past prosecutor who has handled a multitude of DUI cases, we knows how to get your charge dismissed or reduced. As a counselor at law who has helped many clients with drug and alcohol addictions through connecting them with community resources, we knows how to empower you during this intimidating process like a coach would during a game.

Read our Recent Cases to see that Lavy Law has won a case just like yours.

If are you being accused of a driving under the influence offense, Contact Us for a consultation.


[1]See Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(2)

[2]See Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(1)

[3]See Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192(2-a)

[4]A violation is defined as an offense that carries the lowest sanction, and is not defined as a crime.

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