Driving under the influence (DUI) is a situation where the driver is intoxicated as a result of either drugs or alcohol. This is a criminal offense in United States and is dealt with particular severity in New York.
In New York, the implied consent law necessitates all drivers to undertake an alcohol test if a police officer asks for one. The test will determine the level of alcohol concentration in your blood. It is called a blood alcohol content or BAC test. The driver is considered impaired if the BAC is found more than or equal to 0.08%. New York has a zero tolerance level rule for drivers under the age of twenty one years. In this case the BAC limit drops to 0.02%. If you are a commercial driver, your BAC should be below 0.04% to remain within the legal limit.
You may be asked to take the following tests:
- Take a Field Sobriety where the suspect will be asked to stand on one leg for thirty seconds and to walk in a straight line.
- Agree to a Chemical Test. This can comprise of a breath test carried out through a portable breath analyzer or a blood test.
If you refuse the chemical test, your licensed will be revoked. You may also be fined $500 in civil penalty. If your BAC is objectionable, you will be arrested. As DUI is a criminal offense, you will have to face a criminal court hearing. You may also have to face an administrative hearing case carried out by your local DMV office to determine your license suspension duration and other penalties. You should bear in mind that in the state of New York, under the common law theory, you can be convicted solely on the testimony of the police officer, without taking into consideration your BAC level.
New York DUI Laws design the penalty system so as to discourage DUI in the first place. If you are found guilty, your first alcohol related offense will lead to your license being suspended for six months, along with a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000. You may also have to spend one year in jail. For the second conviction, you will be fined $1000 to $5000, with a potential jail time that can last up to four years. Your third conviction will cost you $2000 to $10,000 in fine and a one year license revocation.
The penalties may seem harsh but the fact remains that DUI greatly costs the economy and society in terms of lives and revenue lost.