A Common Offense With Major Consequences
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common of all crimes. People who are anything but “hardened criminals” are commonly brought up on drunk-driving charges. Further, drunk driving is one of the few crimes that people can commit without even knowing they’re doing it. So many driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases stem from a person having just a few drinks and driving home without feeling intoxicated or even knowing they are above the legal limit.
Although these charges are very common, they are still extremely serious offenses, with major consequences coming with a conviction. Attorney Louis C. Mussari can provide you with a solid, strategic criminal defense against these charges. With nearly a decade of experience as an Erie County criminal prosecutor, he knows how to fight against these charges and avoid a conviction or at least minimize the consequences you will be facing. If you have been accused of DUI or DWI in or around Buffalo, New York, Louis C. Mussari, Attorney at Law, can help.
What Is The Difference Between DUI And DWI In New York?
First, it is important to understand the differences between DWI and DUI in New York:
- DWI, or driving while intoxicated, involves driving while being impaired by alcohol. A charge of drunk driving per se can include anyone driving over the legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC).
- DUI, or driving under the influence, can include alcohol, but it also includes driving under the influence of other drugs.
- DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, can be charged when the driver is still under the legal limit but is still too impaired to drive safely. This is a lesser offense than the other two, but it is still serious.
In most cases, the penalties and severity of the charges are directly related to the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system, the existence of any past drunk-driving convictions and other aggravating factors.
Penalties For DUI/DWI
Penalties for DUI/DWI include:
- First offense DWI can include fines of $500 to $1000 and a six-month license suspension, but there is no mandatory jail time.
- Second offense DWI within 10 years is considered a Class-E felony and can bring fines of up to $5,000, up to four years in prison and one-year license revocation
- Third offense DWI is a Class-D felony. Fines for a third-offense conviction can include up to $10,000 in fines, seven years imprisonment and one-year license revocation.
Clearly, the penalties for DUI/DWI increase significantly with multiple offenses. Penalties are also increased for aggravated DWI. When the BAC is more than 0.18% or higher, it comes with a potential $2,500 fine and jail time. A DWAI conviction can include fines, possible jail time and a 90-day license suspension.
It is also important to note any type of conviction, even for your first offense. will include the installation of the ignition interlock system before re-obtaining driving privileges.
For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy. Even a tiny amount of alcohol in your system, if you are under 21, can result in drunk-driving charges.
Chemical Tests And Refusal To Submit
New York operates under the implied consent concept, which means that, by getting behind the wheel of your car and driving in New York, you are consenting to taking a breath or blood test to check for intoxication levels when requested by the police.
Refusal to submit to a legal test of this kind is a crime in its own right, and you will face separate prosecution. Plus, you could face the penalties for refusing to submit to a test, and they could still convict you for drunk driving.