DWI laws change from state to state, making some study important. Even if you get a lawyer – and you definitely need a DWI lawyer if you’re being charged – you should be aware of basic laws. Why? If you don’t know what is happening in the court room, you won’t be able to make key decisions. This guide helps you make those decisions by going over 6 DWI laws you should understand.
New York DWI – The First Offense
Expect fines from $500 to $1,000. You might be charged with up to 1 year jail time. Finally, your drivers license will be revoked for at least six months. Why so hard for a first offense? One of the leading causes of death in New York is drinking and driving. But it does not mean you have no rights; you do.
The Second Offense
If you get a second New York DWI within 10 years of the first, you can expect major fines, a longer jail sentence, and a longer license suspension. Fines can be as high as $5,000. You may face up to 4 years jail time. And your license is often suspended for years. If you believe you were pulled over in error, that your rights have been broken, or that you were not under the influence, you need to speak with a lawyer.
The Third Offense
Now we are getting even worse. Expect penalties to be doubled in comparison to your second offense. If you get a third DWI within 10 years of the second, that’s a felony charge (technically a class d felony), and felonies are the worst driving penalties you can get. If you want to avoid long time jail, fines up to $10,000, and a lengthy license suspension, get legal help.
While less common, we all know how sometimes you just can’t stop drinking. That applies most when you consider than an aggravated DWI means your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is .18 or higher. That’s not only dangerous to you, as much higher and you risk life, but it also puts others in grave danger. The more you drink, the more likely you are to be in an accident (some studies have pointed out you can be 10 to 40 times more likely to be in an accident if drink enough).
If you are arrested for being “driving while ability impaired” by drugs, the penalties are close to what you get for a DWI. If no alcohol is in your system, but drugs are, you can still be charged.
Your Right to Representation
Scared? There is one other important law to consider – that you have a right to representation. Simply put, not all DWI cases are the same. You may have been charged with a higher BAC level than you had, or you may have been profiled by the arrest officer, or the officer lied about something, or a variety of other points. If you are charged with abusing substances and driving, your first move is to immediately hire an experienced DWI lawyer. Do not hire someone who does a “little of everything;” get a specialist in DWI law. And don’t wait until days before your trial to hire a lawyer; hire one as soon as possible.