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What Constitutes Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol in the State of New York?

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense throughout the United States. Most states enacted harsh penalties for anyone convicted for driving while intoxicated. There are many known dangers related to drinking and driving. The most devastating impact drinking and driving could have is the loss of the life of another individual. Despite the known dangers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 30 people die each day from an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. If you or someone you know has been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), attorney Phillip J. Murphy is available to assist you with your legal needs. However, it is important to understand the different DUI charges that may result.

General impairment

New York law prohibits any operation of a motor vehicle at a time in which the individual’s operation will be impaired due to the consumption of alcohol. The statute does not define what “impaired” means. In fact, this is a general statute that is intended to encompass any individual whose driving is affected by alcohol. A law enforcement officer may rely on the facts and circumstances of any particular case to determine whether an individual’s driving is impaired from alcohol.

Driving While Intoxicated

Most statutes governing DWI offenses are determined by an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC). An individual’s BAC is the amount of alcohol present in that individual’s blood. Pursuant to New York laws, a person’s BAC may be measured by completing a chemical analysis of the person’s blood, breath, urine or saliva. The BAC necessary for a DWI charge varies; however, a charge may result in the following instances:

  • In violation of the “zero tolerance” Law: In New York, a “zero tolerance” law is in effect which is applicable to individuals under the age of 21. Individuals who are under the age of 21 and have a BAC between .02 and .07 are in violation of the law.
  • Driving while intoxicated: An individual may be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated if the individual’s BAC is between .08 percent and .17 percent.
  • Aggravated driving while intoxicated: A charge of an aggravated DWI may result if the BAC is determined to be .18 percent or greater.
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle while intoxicate: Any individual operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC between .04 percent and .06 percent may be charged with a level I offense. A level II offense may be charged to any individual operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC between .06 and .08.


The potential consequences for a DWI will depend on a variety of factors. These factors include the offense an individual is charged with, whether any prior offenses exist, and whether damage resulted from the offense. The New York DMV website outlines the potential penalties for some of the DWI offenses.

Contact a DWI Attorney

In the event you are facing charges for a DWI offense contact Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law in Rockland County or Bergen County. Attorney Murphy will meet with you to discuss the facts and circumstances relevant to your case.

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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