New York DWI Overview
DWI in Buffalo, New York
If you have been arrested for a DWI in Buffalo you should contact a lawyer immediately.
New York DWI Laws
Types of Alcohol related violations in Buffalo:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher or other evidence of intoxication. For drivers of commercial motor vehicles: .04 BAC or other evidence of intoxication
- Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI): .18 BAC or higher
- Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol): more than .05 BAC but less than .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment
- Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug)
- Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination)
- Chemical Test Refusal: A driver who refuses to take a chemical test (normally a test of breath, blood or urine)
- Zero Tolerance Law: A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a .02 BAC to .07 BAC violates the Zero Tolerance Law
Greater Penalties For The Following:
- Multiple Convictions
- Multiple Refusals
- High BAC
Q: Legally, just what is “drunk driving?”
A: A drunk driving offense, in New York called driving while intoxicated (DWI) or elsewhere driving under the influence (DUI), really has three general meanings:
- Driving with any amount of alcohol in your system which causes your physical abilities to be impaired in any way. This is known as “common law” intoxication.
- Driving with a level of alcohol in your system which amounts to a measurement of.08 of blood alcohol content. To be guilty of this offense, absolutely no impairment of any of your physical abilities is necessary. You may well be the world’s most talented, careful and safest driver, but if your blood alcohol content registers .08 or above you are guilty of a criminal offense.
- Driving with drugs in your system or with a combination of drugs and alcohol, no matter what the amounts of those substances may be, where your physical abilities have become impaired in any way. It does not matter if the drugs are legal, over the counter medications like antihistamines, nor does it matter if you have a prescription to take the drugs. If you are impaired as a result of taking them, then you can be found guilty of a criminal offense.
Q: What is a blood alcohol test?
This is a physical procedure to determine how much alcohol you actually have in your system. There are three ways of doing this test:
- Drawing a sample of blood from your arm;
- Obtaining a urine sample;
- Obtaining a breath sample by having you blow into a machine called a breathalyzer; or “intoxilyzer”.
This is different from the field sobriety breath device known as an alco-sensor portable breath testing device (or “alco-sensor.”) The breathalyzer is much more sophisticated and exact. You have the choice of which one of these three tests you will take. The only time your ability to choose which test you take can legally be restricted is if you are in a locality that simply does not have a breathalyzer. The officer is required to tell you that the option as to which test you take is up to you. Instead, if you refuse to take a test, your driver’s license is automatically revoked for six months. Also, in your trial, the jury will be told that you refused to take the test and the judge will instruct the jury that they can consider your refusal as evidence of your guilt.
Q: What amount of alcohol do I need to drink to have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher?
A: Each person’s blood alcohol content from drinking certain amounts of alcohol will vary, depending upon a number of factors. The main factor is your weight. To calculate your blood alcohol content based upon having normal drinks such as a 12 oz. beer, a 4 ounce glass of wine, or a single mixed drink containing a one ounce shot of 100 proof liquor, the following general rule of thumb may serve as an illustration:
one drink in one hour — .032
two drinks in one hour — .064
three drinks in one hour — .096
one drink in one hour — .021
two drinks in one hour — .042
three drinks in one hour — .063
four drinks in one hour — .084
Q: What are the penalties for driving while intoxicated?
A: Drunk driving penalties have become very severe in the past few years. For example, a conviction for a first time DWI misdemeanor offender, the maximum possible penalties the court could impose are:
- A fine of between $500 and $1,000, up to 1 year in jail, or both.
- A period of probation of 3 years.
- Mandatory revocation of his or her driver’s license or privilege for at least 6 months.
- Discretionary revocation of his or her registration for at least 6 months.
- A mandatory surcharge of $110.
- A mandatory crime victim assistance fee of $10.
- Discretionary imposition of a requirement that the defendant attend a single session.