There has been nationwide talk lately of lowering the blood alcohol level (BAC) for which a person can be criminally charged for driving while intoxicated. BAC measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood, often detected through a breath tests. Advocates for the stricter laws are campaigning in several states, including New York.
But will it matter?
In the United States, most DWI laws punish individuals driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or more, which generally corresponds to 2 drinks per hour. However, many folks want it to be lowered to .05, arguing that it will save lives. As you can imagine, many are also lobbying against this change, particularly restaurant and bar advocates and lobbyists. In New York State, this would hardly make a difference, as the state already has a law that permits officers to charge someone with an offense with a BAC of .05, although it is a lesser offense. In NYS, a conviction for DWI, with a corresponding BAC of over .08, is a crime, and will give a driver a criminal record. There are also more serious charged and penalties for individuals with prior DWI convictions and higher BAC’s. A conviction for Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, or DWAI, is not a crime, but is a traffic infraction under the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law. It is not a crime. The minimum level required for a conviction is .05 BAC.
A conviction for DWI will result in a revocation of your New York State driver’s license for a minimum of six months.
A conviction for DWAI will carry a 90-day suspension.
Opponents of the proposed legislation argue that most serious traffic incidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers are with people who are severely intoxicated, not the person who has a second drink with their dinner.
Stay tuned for more information, and contact one of the criminal defense attorneys at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins should you, or someone you know, have been charged with driving while intoxicated or driving while ability impaired by alcohol in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, or Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester or surrounding areas. Our attorneys, especially our Executive Partner Marianne Bertuna, have represented hundreds of people charged with DWI, and have achieved great results. Ms. Bertuna has been recognized as one of the top 100 DWI attorneys New York State in this field by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD).
At Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, our criminal defense lawyers have a wealth of experience in both Federal and State Court, and have defended some of the most high profile cases in the country. Contact us today if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges of any kind.
Michael Jaccarino, and the criminal defense attorneys at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, PC, have decades of experience.
For more information or more fact-specific discussions, call our office and ask to speak with attorney Michael Jaccarino.