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Drunk Driving Laws in New York: How A DWI Defense Lawyer Can Help


All 50 states have laws against drunk driving, usually defined as operating a motor vehicle when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher, but New York’s driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws are especially detailed.  In New York, it matters not only how much alcohol you consumed and whether you have previous DWIs on your record, but also what kind of driver’s license you have and whether you have ever been caught driving drunk out of state.  New York also has penalties for driving when your BAC is below 0.08, at levels that in layman’s terms would be called “tipsy but not drunk.”  Worst of all, your chances of getting a plea deal for DWI are slim to none.  Therefore, it is even more important to have a Rockland County DWI defense lawyer on your side if you get accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

New York DWI Laws at a Glance

New York laws recognize a variety of criminal offenses related to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) – Your BAC is greater than or equal to 0.08 but less than 0.16. If you have a commercial driver’s license, you can get charged with DWI if your BAC is 0.04 or higher.
  • Aggravated DWI – Your BAC is at least 016.
  • Driving While Ability-Impaired (DWAI) – Your BAC is at least 0.05 but less than 0.08. The charges for driving under the influence of drugs, or under a combination of drugs and alcohol, are also called DWAI.
  • Zero Tolerance – Drivers under age 21 get their driver’s licenses suspended for at least a year after a DWAI conviction.

All charges related to drinking and driving carry driver’s license suspension penalties, in addition to fines and surcharges; jail time is also a possibility, although judges do not sentence every defendant convicted of DWI to jail.  Once you get your driver’s license back, you will need to purchase an ignition interlock device for your car; the court will require you to keep it for months or years, at your own expense.

Why You Need a Rockland County DWI Defense Lawyer

You have the right to representation by a defense attorney if you are charged with any criminal offense, including DWI.  While New York does not offer plea deals for DWI defendants (such as getting your charges reduced from DWI to DWAI, for example), there are plenty of ways a DWI defense lawyer can help you avoid a conviction or a harsh sentence.  For example, field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable; your lawyer might be able to argue that yours was inaccurate.  Your lawyer might also be able to get your charges dropped if the police unfairly targeted you and did not have reason to suspect that you were driving drunk.  Likewise, if you refuse a breathalyzer test, you will have to pay a monetary penalty, but then it will be the prosecution’s word against your lawyer’s as to whether you were actually drunk at the time of the traffic stop.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Avoiding a DWI conviction can save you years of hassle and hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.  Contact New York DWI attorney Phillip J. Murphy for a consultation.


Contact Our Firm

Phillip J. Murphy,
Attorney At Law
Free Consultations Calls Answered and returned 24/7 Phone: (845) 639-6600 Fax: (845) 639-6620

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10 Esquire Road, Suite 10
New City, New York 10956

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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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