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Driving While Ability Impaired: NY VTL 1192.1

Arrests for driving drunk or driving while ability impaired by alcohol are not just frighteningly embarrassing, but criminal as well. While knowledgeable DUI lawyers understand that an arrest is far from proof or evidence of guilt, if accused of DWI, DUI or DWAI, New York State and the Criminal Courts will treat you out of the gate as if you are culpable for violating Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192.3, 1192.2 or 1192.1. As such, at your arraignment a judge will suspend your license and privilege to drive even if you have strong defenses that may ultimately confirm your innocence. Remember, while a conviction for VTL 1192.1, Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, is not a crime, it is associated with numerous secondary ramifications that you must discuss with your legal counsel.

DWAI Elements

In short, you are guilty of VTL 1192.1 if prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, with the assistance of potential legal presumptions, that alcohol impaired your ability to operate a particular vehicle. This operation need not be actual driving, but mere operation as long as it was on a public highway. Thought it can be charged by itself on a complaint, it is routinely a lesser included offense drafted on to an accusatory instrument alleging misdemeanor DWI crimes including VTL 1192.2 and VTL 1192.3.

Penalties and Punishment

Generally speaking, a conviction for VTL 1192.1 will not land you behind bars, but know a judge can sentence you to up to fifteen days in a local jail if it is your first offense and up to thirty days if it is your second. There is a required minimum fine of $300 and maximum of $500 and, again, an enhancement between $500 to $750 for second convictions. In addition to a surcharge of $225 and an assessment on your license of $250 for three years, the court will also suspend your license for 90 days. Again, if subject to enhanced penalties and sanctions, the 90 days will increase to six months. Lastly, you will be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel and enroll in the Impaired Driver Program or IDP.

Hypothetical and Example

You are intoxicated and drunk while driving on the FDR Drive, Saw Mill Parkway or along Route 684. Either the NYPD, NYS Police, State Troopers or the County Sheriff in Westchester, Putnam or Rockland pull you over after they claim you were speeding. Upon rolling down your window and being asked for your license and registration, the police officer claims you have watery and bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol on your breath and a red flushed face. Exiting the vehicle, you ultimately blow into a PBT or Portable Breath Test and later at the precinct you submit to a Breathalyzer where your BAC is a .07. Below the legal limit of .08, the District Attorney charges you not with DUI or DWI, but with DWAI.

Slightly altering the above scenario, if you blew a .09, a BAC just above the legal limit, prosecutors would likely charge you with a crime. However, assuming there were no aggravating factors such as an accident or child in the car, the DA may offer you the lesser and non-criminal VTL 1192.1.

Your Case, Your Defense, Your Future

Because so much is at stake, when it comes to careers, licenses, driving privileges and the potential stigma associated with a DWI or DWAI arrest, retaining counsel with the practical knowledge and experience is of the utmost importance. Armed with the advocacy, knowledge and experience of Crotty Saland PC’s criminal lawyers and former DWI prosecutors, you can avail yourself of the protection needed to surmount any vehicular crime and alcohol related accusations. Put yourself in the best position to secure a conditional license and leave what is no doubt a horrific experience in your review view mirror.

Call the New York City drunk driving attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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