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.
In this case, the driver was asked to take a chemical test to determine blood alcohol content (BAC). New York has an implied consent law. It specifies that if you’re on a public road and there’s a reasonable suspicion you’re intoxicated, you have implicitly agreed to take a chemical test of your blood, urine, breath, or saliva.
Sentence for an aggravated DWI will likely include the requirement that you install an ignition interlock device (IID). The IID may need to be installed, at your expense, for a minimum of 12 months. An IID works by linking up to the ignition system in your vehicle; it measures your alcohol content before you start driving. To get the car started, you’ll need to exhale into the ignition interlock device, and if your BAC is .025% or higher, the ignition interlock device will stop the engine from starting. This device mandates that you provide more breath samples. When you don’t exhale into the device, it records this failure, and an alarm goes off until you turn off the ignition or provide a breath sample that clears. There are also sometimes built-in cameras in these devices. You have 10 days to install the device after sentencing.
It’s important to realize that driving without a court-ordered IID or helping someone else do so is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could end up with additional penalties, potentially including another year in jail.
Aggravated DWI can be punished harshly. If you’ve been arrested and charged, it’s important to seek legal representation. Mark Siesel, an experienced and aggressive White Plains DWI lawyer, has protected the rights of the accused for 35 years. He also represents clients in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, along with Westchester, Putnam, Kings, Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Rockland, and Ulster Counties. For a free consultation, give the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel a call at (914) 428-7386.