Things just got tougher for those convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in the State of New York.  As of August 15, 2010, anyone who pleads guilty to, or is found guilty of, DWI must have an ignition interlock device installed in any and all vehicles registered under his/her name for a minimum of 6 months.  To add insult to injury, the convicted person must pay for the installation and the monthly calibration of the device.  Even worse, the law is retroactive to November 2009, which means that anyone arrested for DWI in November or thereafter who is still fighting the case is subject to this new law!  This law does NOT apply to those who plead guilty to the lesser charge of Driving While Ability Impaired By Alcohol (DWAI).

The New Law Requires an Interlock Device To Be Installed on The Vehicle If Convicted of a DWI

Under the new law (Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1198), the convicted person must blow into the ignition interlock device in order to start the vehicle.  If the device detects any alcohol, then the vehicle will not start and a notification will be sent to the authorities.  To prevent a friend or family member from blowing into the device, a tiny camera also will be installed.  Big Brother is watching!

Michael Dreishpoon Has Experience When Dealing With The New DWI Law In New York State

The law is so new that the local district attorneys’ offices and criminal defense attorneys are scrambling to try to figure out all of the nuances and built-in problems.  One of my clients plead guilty to DWI on 8/18/10 and has become the Queens County guinea pig; thus, I have become quite knowledgeable on the topic.  I’ve learned that during the operation of the vehicle, the ignition interlock device may beep at any time.  When this happens, the driver has 10 minutes to blow into the device.  If he/she fails to do so, the device notifies the authorities and a court appearance may be necessary to explain what happened and convince the judge that alcohol was not consumed.  My client actually got locked out of his vehicle one morning because he had failed to blow after two consecutive beeps.

As you can see, a whole new can of worms has been opened as a result of this new legislation.  The bottom line is don’t drink and drive.

If you do and get caught, call me immediately for a free consultation (718-793-5555).