What to Do After a DWI or DWAI Arrest
New York DWI and DWAI laws have become increasingly complex. To make matters more challenging, each court can and does interpret the law differently at times. If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI), you need an attorney who understands the law and has the experience to protect your rights inside and outside the courtroom.
At Pappalardo & Pappalardo, LLP, we have 40-plus years of experience fighting intoxicated driving charges. People come to us because of our record of success in even the most complex criminal cases. You can be confident that we know the law, we know the courts, and we can defend you.
Drunk Driving and BAC
There is a great deal of confusion about the difference between DWI and DWAI by Alcohol.
One of the key distinctions is blood alcohol content (BAC). If you have a BAC of 0.08% or greater, you can be charged with DWI – a misdemeanor and the more serious of the two drunk driving offenses. However, if your BAC is below 0.08%, but above 0.05%, you can be charged with DWAI by Alcohol. DWAI by Alcohol is a traffic violation, but it still comes with serious repercussions. There is also a separate charge, DWAI by Drugs, which is a misdemeanor. Based on your criminal history, you can also be charged with DWI or DWAI Drugs as a felony.
If you refuse to take a breath test, you may still face criminal charges. Our lawyers can defend you no matter your BAC level.
Driver’s License Suspension
While a conviction for DWI or DWAI can come with a variety of penalties, one of the first concerns of people accused of this crime is typically the loss of their driver’s license.
If you consented to take the breathalyzer test at the police station (not the roadside hand-held test called an Alco-Sensor) and you registered a BAC of 0.08% or more, then your license will be suspended at your first court appearance. This suspension pertains to both New York licensed drivers and any licensed out-of- state driver. The only difference is that an out-of- state licensee will only have his or her privilege to drive in New York suspended at his or her arraignment while retaining the ability to drive in all other states.
You may be eligible for a conditional license or a hardship license depending on your situation. We will work to prevent all penalties and guide you through all steps that you can take to protect your driving privileges in New York.
In 2009, following the death of a child who was a passenger in the car of an intoxicated driver, the state enacted The Child Passenger Protection Act, also known as “Leandra’s Law,” which makes it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a person age 15 or younger inside the vehicle. This is regardless of whether the driver has any prior criminal history or prior intoxicated driving charges.
Under this provision of the law, any person who is operating a vehicle and transporting a child while their BAC is 0.08% or greater or impaired by drugs may be found guilty of a felony. The sentence for such a crime can be stiff, and the arresting agency may report the driver to the Office of Children and Family Services’ (OCFS) Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.