New York DWI: Lawyer Provides Answers To FAQs

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Elliot Schlissel, a New York DWI Attorney has been practicing law for over 30 years. To say that he's been asked many questions about how DWIs work in New York would be an understatement. He recently provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that he receives.

Question: What is New York's blood alcohol limit?

Answer: For Driving While Intoxicated, New York's blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .08; for Driving While Impaired, it is .06 – and that is very low.

Question: How many drinks can you have before you're considered impaired?

Answer: No more than one beer, or one drink, for the average male. For a small female who is 100 pounds, it may be that they could only have three quarters of a drink or three quarters of a beer. Most people have no idea how little alcohol they can really consume before they are exposing themselves to great liability and risk.

Question: How are New York minors treated in DWI cases?

Answer: New York has what is called a zero tolerance law. You can be 17 and obtain a driver’s license in the state of New York. You can get a junior license as young as 16, but you’re not allowed to consume alcohol until you’re 21. If an individual who is under the age of 21 is charged with Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired and convicted, they automatically lose their license until they are 21.

So, if you obtained your license at 17 and were convicted of any charge related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could lose your license for a period of four years on any conviction until you’re 21. That is in addition to all of the other penalties that any other adult would face on a Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs charge.

Statistically speaking, the large portion of car accidents in vehicles are caused by young people being behind the wheel, either related to alcohol or drug situations, lack of experience in driving or driving in a reckless or too fast manner.

Question: Does New York allow for a temporary or limited license after someone has been convicted of DWI?

Answer: Yes. They have restricted licenses in New York which authorize individuals to drive to and from work and to and from school. However, it doesn’t allow someone who’s a salesman to drive from customer to customer. It allows you to drive to one place and one place only and you can generally only get those licenses one time. If you’ve had it before, it’s very difficult to get it a second time. Also, if you have that type of restricted license and you are charged with any type of motor vehicle violation, your restricted license is also revoked.

Question: How does a DWI affect New York insurance rates?

Answer: A conviction of Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired can have a huge financial impact on an individual by causing his insurance rates to skyrocket. Insurance rates can go up as much as $1,000 or $2,000 a year when someone gets convicted of alcohol or drug related offenses. Insurance companies do not consider those individuals worthy of obtaining their most reasonable insurance rates. Very often those individuals are put into what is called an assigned risk program, meaning they are charged the highest possible insurance rates allowed by law – and that can go on for as many as three to five years. So, there’s a hidden cost in the conviction. The hidden cost could be as much as $15,000 of additional insurance premiums over a period of time.

Question: What advice would you give to New Yorkers about drinking and driving?

Answer: My first piece of advice is to use taxicabs. Leave your car at the bar or restaurant and take a taxicab. A DWI will have drastic and negative economic consequences. It is possible that you'll lose your license, it may affect your employment, impact on your family and ability to go to the grocery store, to doctor’s offices and things of that nature. My second piece of advice is to get someone else to drive if you can’t get a taxicab. If neither of those work, don’t get into the car.

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