Thursday, March 28, 2013


New York State's penalties on driving while intoxicated vary  depending on the level of intoxication, the age of the driver and  passengers, location of offense and prior convictions. But various types  of conduct can actually get you charged with a DWI, even if you were not driving a vehicle at the time you were stopped by police.
New  York DWI laws include the "common law" theory, which is based on police  observation of impairment, and the "statutory DWI charge," which occurs  when a test is administered to determine that a driver's blood alcohol  content is above the legal limit of .08. Police determine blood alcohol  content levels through either a Breathalyzer, urine, blood or saliva  test. Refusing a BAC test usually results in a revoked license.
Driving Stopped and Sleeping Arrested for DWI In  October, a defendant  was arrested for driving while intoxicated after  New York State troopers found him asleep behind the wheel of his running  car. The police noticed his  vehicle was only partially parked and  was blocking the traffic lane.
Upon finding the driver, the police  reported smelling alcohol. He was charged with a  felony DWI due to his previous DWI conviction in the past ten years. He  faces a potential maximum sentence of four years in jail.
In this case, the DWI defense attorney might argue that the driver was not "operating" his vehicle but  sleeping in it. But while the exact definition of "driving" or  "operating" a vehicle is arguable within DWI laws, most courts have  ruled that a conscious person sitting behind the wheel with the keys in  the ignition is in operation of or intends to operate the vehicle.
Other Scenarios Where Drivers Might Be Charged with DWI In  most cases, if a driver has control of a vehicle's keys and is in or  around the car, courts have ruled that the driver is, by law,  operating the vehicle. But in some other states, courts have dismissed a  DWI charge after the driver was proved to have not been driving on the  "roads and highways" included in the language of the law, but on  ditches, frozen lakes, parking lots and driveways.
Drivers who  drive at or below the legal limit can still be charged with a drunk driving  offense. New York law states that drivers with a BAC of .05 to .07 are  below the legal limit, but are guilty of driving while alcohol impaired  or DWAI.
Drivers under age 21 will be charged with DWI if found to  have any traces of alcohol in their system while driving, known as the  Zero Tolerance Law.
If you have been arrested or charged with DWI  or a drunk driving offense in the Buffalo Area of New York State, contact an experienced DWI  attorney, J John Sebastian.

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