DWI and Vehicular Offenses

An alcohol related driving offense in New York can be a violation, a misdemeanor or a felony.

Driving While Intoxicated involves operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Driving while intoxicated may be either a misdemeanor or a felony. First time DWI’s are usually charged as misdemeanors. If you have a previous conviction for driving while intoxicated within the last 10 years, you may be charged with felony driving while intoxicated.

You may be charged with driving while intoxicated even when the police are not able to obtain a blood alcohol level. This is the case when a motorist refuses to take a breathalyzer test. In this situation, the police may charge you with driving while intoxicated based on other factors that establish intoxication such as blood shot eyes, slurred speech, and the smelled of an alcoholic beverage on the breath.

Recently in New York, a new charge of drunk driving was created called Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (NYS VTL 1192.2A). This charge involves operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .18 or higher.

Driving while intoxicated with a child 15 years or younger in the vehicle is now a felony charge under Leandras Law.
Driving While Ability Impaired by the consumption of Alcohol ( VTL 1192.1) is a lesser charge than driving while intoxicated and involves a blood alcohol level of .05 or greater, and less than .08. Driving While Ability Impaired by the consumption of Alcohol is a violation, not a misdemeanor, unless there is a prior conviction for driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated within 5 years of the new charge, in which case you could be charged with a misdemeanor.

A motorist may also be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired Due To Drugs ( VTL 1192.4) as well as Driving While Ability Impaired Due To A Combination Of Drugs And Alcohol ( VTL 1194.A).
How a DWI affects your license.

If you have been charged with Driving while intoxicated as a misdemeanor and you took the breath test, you will receive a 30 day license suspension. The 30 day suspension runs from the date of the arrest. If you had a valid New York State driver’s license at the time of the arrest you may be eligible for a hardship license. A hardship license permits you to drive to and from your place of employment, to and from school, and/or to and from medical appointments. A hardship license will only permit you to drive during specified times of the day during the hardship license period which is for 30 days. When the 30 day period is almost over, you should receive a letter from DMV advising that you may go to New York DMV and apply for a new license, which can continue the hours and restriction from the hardship period. To receive a hardship license, the court needs to conduct a Hardship Hearing in order to determine whether a hardship license is warranted. Hardship hearings are conducted differently depending on the court. Most courts require a letter from your employer on business letterhead confirming that you are employed there. Some require the days and hours that you work. Some courts require a separate witness to testify at the hearing regarding your employment or to other facts.

If you are convicted of an alcohol related offense, the court will impose additional suspensions and/ or revocations on your driver’s license. Furthermore, recent changes in the law now require those convicted of driving while intoxicated to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle owned or operated by the motorist for at least 6 months. The interlock device requires the driver to blow into the device to confirm that he or she has not consumed alcohol.

If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated and it is alleged that you refused to take a breath test, also known as a refusal, the court will suspend your license at arraignment, pending a refusal hearing at DMV. If you lose the refusal hearing or fail to show for the hearing, your license will be revoked for a minimum 6 months, or 1 year for those under the age of 21 and a civil penalty of at least $500.00.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED IN NEW YORK STATE, YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY

Reckless Driving

Section 1212 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law states:

1212. Reckless driving. “ Reckless driving shall mean driving or using any motor vehicle, motorcycle or any other vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power or any appliance or accessory thereof in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway. Reckless driving is prohibited. Every person violating this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Reckless driving in violation of section 1212 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law is a misdemeanor. A conviction to reckless driving will result in a criminal record unless you were between the ages of 16 and 18 when the ticket was issued and granted youthful offender status by the court. A conviction for reckless driving will result in 5 points on your license or driving record. A conviction for reckless driving can also result a sentence jail of up to 180 days as well as a revocation of your license.

Reckless driving is prosecuted differently depending on the county the ticket is received in and the court the ticket is returnable to. If you are charged with reckless driving, there is an advantage in hiring an attorney early in the process. You do not want a misdemeanor on your record!

Points
In New York State, convictions for speeding tickets and other moving violations carry points on your license. Below are the points that correspond to each moving violation.

Speeding 1 to 10 mph over limit

3 points

Speeding 11 to 20 mph over limit

4 points

Speeding 21 to 30 mph over limit

6 points

Speeding 31 to 40 mph over limit

8 points

Speeding over 40 mph over limit

11 points

1102 Failure to Comply with a Lawful Order

2 points

1110 (a) Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device

2 points

1110 (a)(1) Passed Green Arrow

3 points

1111 (d)(1) Passed Red Light

3 points

1111 (a)(1) Passed Red Arrow

3 points

1120 (a) Failure to Keep Right

3 points

1122 Improper Lane Change

3 points

1128 (a) Unsafe Lane Change

3 points

1129 (a) Following Too Closely (Tailgating)

4 points

1140 Failure to Yield Right of Way at Intersection

3 points

1141 Failure to Yield Right of Way–Oncoming Traffic

3 points

1143 Failure to Yield Right of Way–Pedestrians

3 points

1163 Failure to Signal Lane Change

2 points

1172 Failure to Stop at Stop Sign or Flashing Red Light

3 points

1180 (a) Unreasonable/Imprudent Speed

3 points

1180 (b) Speeding
1 – 10 mph over speed limit

3 points

11 – 20 mph over speed limit

4 points

21 – 30 mph over speed limit

6 points

31 – 40 mph over speed limit (possible suspension)

8 points

More than 40 mph over speed limit (possible suspension)

11 points

1212 Reckless Driving (Misdemeanor Offense)

5 points

600 Leaving the Scene of an Accident

3 points

1229 (c)(3) No Seat Belt/Driver

0 points

319 Uninsured Motorist (Mandatory Revocation)
375 (1) Inadequate Brakes (Misdemeanor offense)

4 points

375 (3) Failure to Dim Headlights

2 points

375 (29a) Improper Towing/More Than One Vehicle

2 points

375 (29c) Connection Longer Than 16 Feet

2 points

375 (29d) No Licensed Driver in Towed Vehicle

2 points

381 (1a) Inadequate Brakes- Motorcycle

4 points

In New York State, points are assessed against your driving record based on the date of violation of the ticket, not the date of conviction. If you accumulate 11 points or more within an 18 month period, your license will be suspended or revoked by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Also, if you are convicted of 3 speeding tickets with dates of violation within an 18 month period, your license will be suspended for 6 months.

You can reduce up to four points from your driving record by completing a NYS DMV approved defensive driving course. You can use the point reductions from a defensive driving class once every 18 months. If you have already taken the defensive driving course within 18 months, regardless of whether you received a point reduction or not, you will not be able to reduce any points by taking the program again until a year and a half has passed. Please note you cannot apply the point reduction as a credit against future tickets.

NO ONE SHOULD EVER PLEAD GUILTY TO VIOLATION INVOLVING POINTS WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING WITH AN ATTORNEY

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