Drinking while under the influence (DUI) is taken very seriously in New York. You can lose your license, pay a fine or even go to jail. A DUI ticket can lead to a criminal record which will last for a long time and can even affect you for the rest of your life. It is always best to fight your DUI charge. A good New York DUI attorney will be able to help you challenge a DUI charge and can get the charge dismissed altogether or reduced to a lesser charge.
The DUI Process in New York
A law enforcement officer can arrest you for DUI if he or she thinks your driving is impaired. Normally, you will be asked to stop and questioned only if the officer thinks that you have committed an offense. This could be because your driving appeared erratic or you were stopped because of another offense, such as speeding or careless driving. You will probably be asked to do some tests, called sobriety tests, such as walking in a straight line or standing on one foot. You may be asked to blow into a portable breathalyzer. If you refuse, then you will probably be arrested anyway.
You will then be taken to a police station and asked to take a blood alcohol (BAC) test. Because of New York’s implied consent law, your state license was issued on the understanding that you “consent” to a blood alcohol test if asked to do so. This means that if you refuse, your license can be suspended immediately and you will be charged with refusing to take a test.
If your BAC level is over 0.08% (or over 0.02% if you are under 21 or 0.04% if you are a commercial driver) then you will be charged with DUI. If you refuse to have a test, you can still be charged with DUI and the officer can use your sobriety tests and any other information about you, including your refusal as evidence against you.
DUI Penalties in New York
You will be fined, may be given jail time and will lose your license for a specified period. The exact penalties depend on the BAC test results and whether you have had any previous convictions. The fines go up and the length of time your license is suspended also increases if it is not a first conviction. If you do probation instead of jail then you may have to go to DUI school or have a BAC monitoring device fitted to your ankle or your car. This includes devices like scram monitors or ignition interlock devices. These are normally mandatory if it is a second or third offense.
A DUI conviction can have a serous effect on your life. Unless it is a third conviction or you have been involved in an accident and damaged property or hurt someone then your conviction will be recorded as a misdemeanor. This is still a criminal conviction and can affect your income, your family, your job and may reduce your chances of promotion or getting another job on the future.
Hire a DUI Attorney
Your best option is to hire a New York DUI attorney. He or she has thee experience to be able to use the weaknesses in the procedure used when you were arrested to get your charge dismissed or the penalties reduced. There are often deficiencies in the way sobriety tests were used or the alcohol tests were taken. Many of these test results are invalid because of faulty equipment or inexperienced operators.
You do not want to get a DUI charge on your record and all the consequences if you can avoid it. Use a DUI lawyer to fight your charge!