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Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs is a Serious Offense in New York State



Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in New York State. The state has strict laws in place to deter and punish individuals who choose to drive while impaired. In this blog, we will discuss driving while under the influence laws in New York State.


What Constitutes Driving While Under the Influence in New York State?


In New York State, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is 0.04%. If you are under 21 years of age, the legal limit is 0.02%. Additionally, driving while impaired by drugs, whether prescription or illegal drugs, is illegal.


Penalties for Driving While Under the Influence in New York State:


The penalties for driving while under the influence in New York State can be severe. If you are convicted of driving while under the influence, you may face the following consequences:


First Offense:

  • A fine of $500 to $1,000

  • Up to one year in jail

  • License suspension for up to six months

  • A requirement to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle

  • A possible mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment

Second Offense:

  • A fine of $1,000 to $5,000

  • Up to four years in jail

  • License revocation for at least one year

  • A requirement to install an IID in your vehicle

  • A possible mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment

Third Offense:

  • A fine of $2,000 to $10,000

  • Up to seven years in jail

  • License revocation for at least one year

  • A requirement to install an IID in your vehicle

  • A possible mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment

Aggravated DWI:


If you are found to have a BAC of 0.18% or higher, you may be charged with aggravated DWI. The penalties for an aggravated DWI are more severe than those for a standard DWI.

  • A fine of $1,000 to $2,500

  • Up to one year in jail

  • License revocation for at least one year

  • A requirement to install an IID in your vehicle

  • A possible mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment

Leandra’s Law:


Leandra’s Law was passed in 2009 in response to the death of Leandra Rosado, who was killed in a car accident while riding in a vehicle with a drunk driver. Under Leandra’s Law, if you are convicted of driving while under the influence with a passenger who is 15 years old or younger, you may face additional penalties.

  • A fine of $1,000 to $10,000

  • Up to four years in jail

  • License revocation for at least one year

  • A requirement to install an IID in your vehicle for at least six months after your license is restored

  • A possible mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment

Civil Forfeiture:


In addition to the criminal penalties for driving while under the influence in New York State, there are civil forfeiture laws in Nassau and Suffolk counties. These laws allow law enforcement officials to seize property that they believe was used in the commission of a crime, including vehicles that were used in a DWI offense.

In Nassau County, the civil forfeiture law applies to any vehicle used in the commission of a DWI offense, regardless of the vehicle's ownership. This means that even if the vehicle is owned by someone other than the driver, it can still be seized if it was used in a DWI offense.


In Suffolk County, the civil forfeiture law applies only to vehicles owned by the person convicted of the DWI offense.

It is important to note that civil forfeiture is a separate legal process from the criminal case, and the burden of proof is different. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil forfeiture case, the burden of proof is lower, and the government must only prove that the property was used in the commission of a crime by a preponderance of the evidence.


If your vehicle has been seized under the civil forfeiture laws in Nassau or Suffolk County, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options. You may have the opportunity to challenge the seizure in court and seek the return of your vehicle.


Conclusion:


Driving while under the influence in New York State is a serious offense that can have severe consequences. If you are arrested for driving while under the influence, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options. The best way to avoid these penalties is to not drink and drive. Always plan ahead and designate a sober driver or use public transportation if you plan to drink.

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