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Question and Answer on New York DWI Laws

Did you know that one third of deaths in the state of New York directly involved impaired or intoxicated people? That means one third of deaths are a direct result of alcohol. It happens beyond driving, of course, but it's clear driving fatalities are high, and they are high because people drink and drive.

Once you drink alcohol and your blood alcohol content increases, the chances of getting into an accident are incredibly high. According to the state of New York, if your BAC (blood alcohol content) is 0.08% or over, you have four times greater chance of causing a crash.

Another disheartening fact is of drivers under the legal drinking age, who are the most likely of all drivers to be in alcohol related crashes leading to death.

Let's go over some more details so you can protect yourself and others from being more statistics.

Will you be caught for a DWI? A DWI is the New York State version of the DUI for most other states, where your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher and you drive a vehicle. The chances of being caught for a DWI are "greater than ever before" says the state of New York DWI guide. How so? Officers are not only trained to be effective in catching drivers driving while intoxicated, but they also are out in force using special equipment to catch drinking drivers.

What else are they doing? There is the New York State STOP-DWI program, used in every county. This is funded by DWI fines, and involves programs for enforcement, prosecution, adjuration, and education. It's a clear sign New York is serious about both punishing and helping drinking drivers. Since thousands of deaths are related to DWI cases, it's clear why New York is doing this.

What happens if I'm stopped for a DWI? If you are stopped by an officer, you will likely be tested. This includes the "breath screening test," basically a breathalyzer, and possibly other field sobriety tests. If you are over the limit, 0.08% or above in all 50 states, you will be arrested and asked to take a chemical test. You can expect to be fined, get your license revoked, get higher insurance premiums, and possibly be punished with a jail sentence. If you get multiple DWI arrests, you can expect the penalties to be even stiffer, including large fines, longer jail time, and extended license suspensions.

I am drinking under age--does that change things? Being under the drinking age of 21 does change things. If you have a license, that will typically be suspended for a DWI charge. If you are arrested for a DWI in any of the 50 states, you can expect a 1 year suspension. If you get a second or further DWI charge, your license can be revoked for longer than a year, or until you're 21.

Do I need a DWI lawyer in New York? Since this is only scratching the service on DWI questions you may have, you should consider hiring a professional New York DWI lawyer to help you with the case. Just knowing the laws is not enough; you need an expert on handling these kinds of cases. A DWI lawyer might be able to help get your license back, if not avoid jail time.