Charged with Impaired Driving
Being pulled over and charged with impaired driving can be scary. The consequences that follow can be severe and you may be wondering what you can do.
In New York ordinarily you are charged with both a DWI/DUI (driving while intoxicated) and driving while ability impaired. The reason the prosecutors do that, and as a former prosecutor I’ve done this on many occasions, is because a driving while impaired is what we call a lesser included offense. However, a driving while impaired is not a crime. It is a traffic infraction. The consequences of driving while impaired are not as severe as driving while intoxicated.
A driving while impaired conviction does not count as a prior driving while intoxicated because a conviction for a driving while impaired is a traffic infraction. Technically speaking, anything that is around a .06 and .07 blood alcohol content is considered an impaired. Very often clients present themselves with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more, so a driving while impaired may be a viable plea bargain option. Going from a case where you’re charged with a DWI where your blood alcohol content might be a .10, which is a crime, may be able to be resolved in a plea bargain for driving while ability impaired.
Impaired Driving Penalties
In New York, if you wind up with a plea bargain of driving while ability impaired, the first thing to remember is that it’s not a crime, it’s a traffic infraction. The penalties are a minimum of $300 fine and a maximum of a $500 fine and there’s also a surcharged owed to the court of $250. The Department of Motor Vehicles will send you a very unhappy letter, which will charge you an additional $750; $250 a year for three years. Other penalties are that you may be required to do the drunk driving program, which is a seven-class program, approximately two hours each night for the drunk driving program. On certain occasions, driving while impaired may also require you to do one class called the Victim Impact Panel, which is one class for two and a half hours.
Impaired Driving Court Proceedings
If you’re charged in the State of New York with driving while impaired, it’s a traffic infraction and not a crime. As such, you will not be entitled to a jury trial but a trial in front of a judge. That’s not necessarily a disadvantage, but you’re not entitled to a jury trial. A trial in front of a judge is usually a little quicker and a little bit less expensive, quite frankly. It’s important to know what your rights are when charged with a driving while impaired.
If you have been charged with impaired driving, please call our NYC DWI lawyer today to get a free consultation.