As a rule of thumb, you should never drink and drive… but it happens, and in NYC it is a very serious crime. Driving while under influence in this state is a violation, attached to some highly punitive measures, that can even lead to jail time. So if you find yourself in this predicament, there are a couple of things that you should know.
Misdemeanor Vs. Felony
The first you need to consider is whether or not your case will be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. This will be a deciding factor in the potential outcome of your case, like the dollar amount you will owe the government, how many months you will be prohibited from driving, and mandated supplemental education; basically everything you care about. Generally speaking, first-time offenses are usually considered a misdemeanor. However, additional factors can turn your first-time offense into a felony. For instance, if you had a child in the backseat or if you were under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.
Alcohol Consumption levels
Another factor that will affect your case is your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. Now you might be thinking “I’m not really a lightweight” but when it comes to the law, regardless of how confident you feel, the breathalyzer decides whether or not you’re incapable of operating a vehicle. Law enforcement will charge you with a DUI if your BAC is: 0.08% if you’re 21 and over; 0.04% if you’re a commercial driver; and 0.02% if you are under 21.
Severity of Penalties
As mentioned before, New York takes driving under the influence very seriously and as a result, the punishments for the crime can be severe. The following will give you a sense of what you may be facing, depending on your situation.
Under 21 years of age: New York abides by the Zero Tolerance Law, which means that if you’re under 21 and charged with a DUI, you won’t face any jail time but you will most likely have your license suspended (the first time) and face a monetary fee. The second time it happens your license could be fully revoked and you may have to install an ignition interlock device.
Over 21 & first offense: You are facing up to 90-day license suspension, 15 days in jail, up to $1,250 dollars in fines, possible enrollment in the New York Drinking Driver Program (DDP) and its associated costs.
Second offense: You could possibly face a felony charge if it isn’t at least 10 years after your first offense. You may also face up to 1,500 dollars in fines, license revocation for at least 6 months, up to a month in jail time, and mandated enrollment in DDP.
Worst Case scenarios: Various factors can lead to extreme penalties under the law. Drug-related scenarios and Aggravated DUI can lead up to a class E felony; $5,750 dollars in fines; and 4 years in jail time.
What to consider before hiring an NYC DUI Attorney
The bottom line is that getting caught driving under the influence will result in a painful motion through the state’s justice system, so don’t hesitate to get the legal help you need. Jail time and financial damage alone are two reasons to hire an attorney. Hiring a DUI Lawyer in NYC may result in dropped, reduced or even mitigated charges. Regardless of the events that transpired before getting charged with a DUI, hiring an attorney is the first step towards the better side of justice.