Articles Posted in Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

This summer, a driver who was traveling at three times the legal limit was pulled over during a holiday weekend on I-287 in Harrison, New York. Although he was pulled over because of a traffic violation, the police quickly figured out he was intoxicated. After wholly failing field sobriety tests, he was required to take a chemical test at the precinct. Once the police brought him into custody, he was tested. His blood alcohol content was 0.27%. Prosecutors charged him with aggravated driving while intoxicated (DWI).

Blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.27% is exceptionally high — more than three times the legal limit. While prosecutors can charge you for being over the legal limit if you operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher, you can be charged with aggravated DWI if you drive with a BAC of 0.18% or higher. In this case, the chemical test showed the driver had a far higher blood alcohol content than the minimum used to charge aggravated DWI.

You should be aware that the penalties for aggravated DWI are harsh. If you are convicted of aggravated DWI, you could be jailed for one year and fined $1000-$2500. But jail time and fines aren’t the only potential consequences. Your driver’s license could be revoked for at least one year. You will be ordered to participate in a MADD victim impact panel. Additionally, the court will order substance abuse treatment through, among others, Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC), a state-run agency. Initially, TASC will ask questions to determine your treatment needs in connection with drug and alcohol use. You will then be referred to a program to be provided treatment.

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In New York State, driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or above constitutes Driving While Intoxicated. In November of 2006, our legislature implemented a new law which created the charge of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated in New York, which is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .18 or above. The question to be discussed in this article is “If my BAC is above the .08 minimum for a DWI, but below the .18 to be charged with an Aggravated DWI, what are my chances of getting the reduced charge of a New York DWAI? (Driving While Ability Impaired).

The answer is that the eligibility for a reduction to the lesser charge of DWAI, which is a violation, not a misdemeanor like the DWI (and which results in only a 90 day suspension of your license rather than a 6 month revocation) depends on the County where you were charged. For example, in Westchester County, if you have a BAC of .14 or above, it is very unlikely if not impossible that you will have a chance to get the reduced charge of DWAI. There is a little more flexibility in Putnam County, and at The Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel in White Plains, New York, we have had clients who we were able to get a DWAI with a higher BAC than .14 in Putnam County, assuming that there was no property damage, no one was injured, and this was their first offense.

In many of the boroughs such as Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, if your BAC is .13 or higher, you are not likely to get a reduced charge and are facing a New York DWI. In Nassau County, the policies are even more strict, and a blood alcohol content of .12 and above will likely prevent a reduced charge.

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