Driving While Intoxicated – What Is Considered Legally Intoxicated?

Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1192 states that a driver is “legally intoxicated” if his blood-alcohol level is .08 or above. This statute does not say anything about being drunk, tipsy or wasted. The bottom line is that two glasses of wine or beer during dinner with a friend just may land you in jail. You’d be surprised to find out just how little alcohol you need to blow a .08.

New York Punishments for Drinking and Driving

If you’ve consumed any amount of alcohol and get behind the wheel, you’ve put yourself in jeopardy if you get pulled over or even approached by the police. Once the officer smells alcohol on your breath, there’s a high likelihood that you’re going to set the wheels in motion that often lead to an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), a violation punishable by up to 15 days in jail.

Should You Tell The Officer That You’ve Been Drinking?

If you get pulled over after consuming any amount of alcohol, do NOT admit that to the police. Telling the cop that you had “a couple of beers” is only going to make things worse. You must suppress your desire to “talk your way out of it” and simply say, “No.”

Should You Take a Breath Test If Pulled Over In New York State For a DWI?

The next question is the most popular one that I receive: “Should I take the breath test?” In my professional opinion, purely from a “getting your license back as quickly as possible” perspective, you should blow if you only had a few drinks and should refuse if you drank a lot or have been previously convicted of any alcohol-related offense. Here’s why: those who refuse generally have their license REVOKED for ONE YEAR by DMV regardless of the resolution of the criminal case. On the other hand, those who blow a low number (e.g., .08-.13), generally end up with a plea bargain deal to the lesser offense (DWAI) which results in a 90 DAY license SUSPENSION.

Need More Information On DWI Laws in New York? Call Me Anytime!

New York’s DWI laws are complicated, so the “should I blow” question has multi-layered answers depending on the individual facts of each case.  Thus, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately if you’ve been arrested.

Feel free to call me at any time to discuss your case in detail.

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