You have probably heard the facts before - driving while impaired or intoxicated is a serious traffic safety problem in the United States. In New York State, more than 40 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involve impaired driving. But the facts and statistics do not tell the whole story. Behind the numbers are thousands of lives cut short, permanent or disabling injuries, and families devastated because someone drove while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
When you drink alcohol or take other drugs, safe driving is not possible. Not every impaired or intoxicated driver causes a traffic crash, but each one is dangerous, putting their lives and those they share the road with at risk.
Young people, who have less experience with alcohol or drugs and less experience with driving, are at high risk. Drivers under age 21 are approximately 4 percent of the driving population, but 7 percent of the impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes. This is one reason the driver license revocation penalties are more severe for young drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Because driving \"under the influence\" is so dangerous, the penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations are tough and enforcement is important. The chance of apprehension and conviction are high and New York State law strictly limits your ability to plea bargain when charged with an offense related to alcohol or drugs.
You do not have to look or feel intoxicated for these things to occur. The symptoms of alcohol consumption can begin long before you become intoxicated or even legally impaired and begin with the first drink.
As alcohol physically limits your ability to drive, it also makes you less aware of what is happening to your safe driving abilities. It becomes difficult for you to judge your condition. You can gain confidence about driving, when you should not be driving at all.
Drugs, which include many prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as illegal substances, can affect your ability to drive. They can have effects similar to alcohol or even worse. If you take medication, even a remedy for colds or allergies that is not prescribed, check the label for warnings about its effects. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist about driving while on the medication.
Never drink alcohol while you are taking other drugs. It could be dangerous, often enhancing the effects of the alcohol and the other drug. For example, taking one drink while you are also using a cold remedy could affect you as much as several drinks.
It can be a criminal offense to drive while impaired by the effect of drugs, alcohol, or the combination of alcohol and drugs, including marijuana/cannabis, and illegal drugs such as cocaine, LSD, heroin, opium, and by some prescription drugs. Drugs can detrimentally affect your reflexes, judgment, vision and alertness and they may have other dangerous effects as well.
In New York State, you can be arrested for any of these offenses: aggravated driving while intoxicated (Agg-DWI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more (.08 BAC), driving while ability impaired by a drug (DWAI-drug), driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI), or driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the percentage of alcohol in your blood and is normally determined by a chemical test of breath, blood, urine or saliva. A BAC of more than .05 percent is legal evidence that you are impaired, a BAC of .08 percent or higher is evidence of intoxication, and a BAC of .18 percent or more is evidence of aggravated driving while intoxicated.
If you are found guilty of any alcohol or drug-related violation, the court must revoke or suspend your driver license when you are sentenced. Even if the court allows you to continue driving for 20 days, your driver license will be taken immediately.
Different types of drinks do not affect you differently. It is the amount of alcohol you consume, not whether it is in beer, wine or liquor that raises your BAC and reduces your driving ability. These drinks contain about the same amount of alcohol - 1 1/2 ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer and 12 ounces of wine cooler. None is \"safer to drink\" than the others.
For a 150-pound male, each one of these drinks contains enough alcohol to increase his BAC by about .02 percent. On average, it takes the body approximately one hour to remove that much alcohol. Studies indicate that a woman will take longer to process and remove alcohol from the blood. This can cause a higher BAC over a longer period of time.
Compared to the 150-pound male described above, your body weight can make some difference in the BAC and the effects of alcohol. No one has immunity to the effects of alcohol. It is a simple fact: the more you drink in a given period of time, the higher your BAC will be and the less safely you will drive.
It takes only a few drinks to increase your BAC to levels at which it is illegal to drive. And remember, the effects of alcohol on your ability to drive begin at even lower BAC levels after just one drink.
The only method to effectively reduce your BAC is to not drink over a period of time. Coffee, exercise and cold showers cannot reduce your BAC and the effects of alcohol. They can help you remain awake, but it can not change your BAC or make you sober.
Chemical tests use blood, breath, urine or saliva to measure the BAC of a person. If you are arrested for an alcohol or drug-related violation, the police officer will likely request that you submit to a chemical test. Under New York's \"Implied Consent\" law, when you drive a car in this state you are considered to have already given your consent to take this type of test.
Chemical test refusal is a separate issue from whether you were guilty of an alcohol or drug-related violation. If you refuse to take the test after being arrested, your driver license will be suspended when you are arraigned in court on the alcohol or other drug-related charge. In addition, the fact that you refused a chemical test can be brought up in court when you are tried on the alcohol or drug-related charge. If a DMV hearing later confirms you refused the test, your driver license will be revoked even if you are found not guilty of the alcohol or other drug-related violation. For information about driver license revocations and civil penalties for chemical test refusals, see Alcohol and Drug Driving Violations.
The table above \"Penalties for Alcohol/Drug Related Violations\" describes fines, surcharges, license penalties and possible imprisonment if you are convicted of an alcohol or drug-related violation. Impaired or intoxicated driving can also have other serious results.
The legal purchase and possession age for beverages containing alcohol in New York State is 21. Under the state's \"zero tolerance\" law, it is a violation for a person under 21 to drive with any BAC that can be measured (.02 to .07). After a finding of violation is determined at a DMV hearing, the driver license will be suspended for six months. The driver then must pay a $100 suspension termination fee and a $125 civil penalty to be re-licensed. For a second Zero Tolerance violation, the driver license will be revoked for at least one year or until the driver reaches 21, whichever is longer.
When you use a driver license or Non-Driver ID card as proof of age to illegally purchase beverages that contain alcohol, state law requires the suspension of your driver license or privilege to apply for a license.
It is a traffic infraction for a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle on a public highway, street or road to drink a beverage containing alcohol or to possess an open container containing an alcoholic beverage. It is also a traffic infraction for a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle on a public highway, street or road to consume marajuana/cannabis. The penalty for a first conviction is a fine up to $150, a mandatory surcharge, a crime victim assistance fee, and possible imprisonment of 15 days. Additional offenses within 18 months bring higher penalties. The law exempts passengers in vehicles like stretch limousines and other vehicles that display a commerce certificate or permit issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the NYS Department of Transportation.
Courts must order all persons convicted of driving while intoxicated or aggravated driving while intoxicated, or of a penal law offense for which an alcohol related violation of any provision of section 1192 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law is an essential element to install and maintain an ignition interlock on any vehicle owned or operated by such driver for at least 12 months. (This device, purchased and installed at the expense of the motorist, is connected to a motor vehicle ignition system and measures the alcohol content of the breath of the driver. The vehicle cannot be started until the driver provides an acceptable sample breath.) The 12-month requirement may be waived by the court if the defendant demonstrates that the interlock device was installed for at least six months, unless the court orders the interlock device to be installed for a longer period of time. The judge also must order an alcohol assessment for a repeat offender. If the assessment indicates alcohol treatment is necessary, the judge may be required to order the completion of treatment as a condition of probation.
The law also makes it a felony to drive drunk with a conditional license, which is a license that may be issued by the DMV when someone is convicted of an alcohol-related offense. Such a license may be used only for driving to and from essential destinations such as school, work and medical appointments. The conditional driver license will be revoked if the motorist does not comply with the court terms or for a conviction for any traffic offense except parking, stopping or standing.
Driving while intoxicated is a crime. Your judgment, coordination and ability to drive a vehicle change when you consume any amount of alcohol. The level of impairment depends on five conditions 59ce067264