Over the course of the past few decades, drunk driving laws and penalties around the country have changed. In most states, including New York, the changes have meant stricter laws and harsher consequences for any people found guilty of driving while intoxicated. Imposed penalties can include jail time, very steep fines, loss of driving privileges and the required use of ignition interlock devices once driving privileges are restored.
With the continual push of the mayor's Vision Zero plan, drivers in New York may well feel a bit under siege at times. While authorities are tasked with maintaining public safety, the need to respect the rights of all parties, including those accused of crimes including driving while intoxicated, is of equal importance. Two components to this are the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the ability to receive a proper and fair defense.
Throughout New York as well as across other states in the country, many police checkpoints are commonly set up to seek out drunk drivers over key holiday times. The recent Fourth of July holiday weekend is no exception. Press coverage about drunk driving can make it hard to remember that many people who are arrested for driving while intoxicated are actually honest, responsible citizens. It is easier than many may realize to have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or above. Not everyone in this situation should be looked upon as dangerous criminals.
People who have received traffic tickets can sometimes feel that they have no chance of defending against any charges. This can be the case whether the incident involved speeding, running a red light, driving while intoxicated or something else. However, a proper defense is the right of anyone accused of these actions and there are times that charges can be dropped or convictions avoided.
New York residents lately have seen an increase in efforts to stamp out pedestrian deaths. This includes the creation of designated slow zones where speed limits have been lowered, the installation of red light cameras near certain schools, specific speed detection crackdowns and more. Drivers who are suspected of driving while intoxicated are also often the subject of additional efforts by law enforcement.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is something that New York law enforcement takes very seriously. The penalties that a driver who is eventually convicted of a DUI or related offense can be extreme and last many years. These penalties can increase if any repeated convictions occur within a specific timeframe. With the negative publicity surrounding drunk driving, it can be too easy to create a stereotype about the type of people who are charged with drunk driving.
Drivers can be stopped for many reasons by officers in New York. Once stopped, they may be subject to field sobriety tests or other methods that are used to determine their sobriety. If these tests are not passed, officers can arrest a driver for drunk driving. This charge can be in addition to any other traffic violation for which they may be cited. Common reasons for stops include speeding, failure to yield the right of way or the failure to obey a traffic control signal.
Depending on the circumstances of a specific case, some people who are arrested for suspected drunk driving in New York are charged with misdemeanors and others are charged with felonies. As such, the potential penalties may vary for the different charges related to driving while intoxicated. The existence of any previous DWI or DUI convictions may be one factor that affects the charge of a current situation.
With New York law enforcement seeming to crack down harder and harder on people who speed or break other traffic laws, it can be all too easy to assume that all people who are arrested or ticketed are irresponsible. The truth is that many honest people can be in situations that lead to potential charges for a wide range of things. For example, some people can have elevated blood alcohol levels after even just one drink that would open them up to a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Drivers in New York that receive traffic tickets or that are arrested for various traffic violations can find themselves subject to a wide range of penalties. Points on driving records, fines, reinstatement fees and even jail time can be faced depending upon the offense. A conviction for driving while intoxicated can include all of the above and more. However, it is important for defendants to know that options do exist to reduce the ultimate penalties even if they are convicted.