5 Common Misconceptions About DWI Charges
Misunderstandings About DWIs in Long Island NY
There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about being stopped by law enforcement on the suspicion of being drunk or high while driving. The Long Island drunk DWI attorneys at 888-DUI-Lawyer thought it might be helpful to offer some answers for five common confusions and misunderstandings.
1) DWI Only Applies to Alcohol
As we discussed previously, §1192 of New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, criminalizes driving while on drugs, too.
Under NY law, several categories of driving violations exist that vary according to the severity of impairment and the type of substance used. The categories include:
- DWAI/Alcohol: driving while ability impaired by alcohol; 0.05 BAC to 0.07 BAC
- DWAI/Drug: driving while ability impaired by a single drug other than alcohol
- DWAI/Combination: driving while ability impaired; combination of drugs and alcohol
- DWI: driving while intoxicated with a 0.08 BAC level or higher
- Aggravated DWI: driving while intoxicated: 0.18 BAC or higher or DWAI when a child is present in the vehicle
2) “Drugs” Only Means Illegal Drugs
DWAI/Drug is not just for marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.. As the NY Department of Motor Vehicles advises, “[d]rugs, which include many prescription and over-the-counter medications, can affect your ability to drive. They can have effects similar to alcohol or even worse.”
Thus, police can pull you over for DWAI/Drug even if the drug was purchased over the counter or prescribed by your doctor. The only thing that matters is that you were driving a motor vehicle, that a drug or substance was in your system and that the drug/substance impaired your ability to drive.
Pay attention to “drowsy” warnings on your medications.
3) When I “Blow” on the Roadside, that is the Breathalyzer Test
- False; there are two tests.
The device that you blow into when you are first pulled over is a device called an alco-sensor. That gives the police officer a general reading of your BAC. Based on that, the officer determines whether you are over the limit. If so, you are taken into custody and are taken to the police station for a “true” breathalyzer test, which is usually done in the presence of cameras. For court, the station-administered test is the one relied upon, although the field test is also admissible.
4) The Police Can Force You to Take Either or Both Breathalyzer Tests.
- False (with rare exceptions).
New York citizens can refuse to take either or both of the breathalyzer tests. However, there are serious consequences for refusing to take either or both tests including suspension of your driving privileges for one year.
While you can refuse, under some severe circumstances, law enforcement can seek a court order to allow bodily fluids to be extracted for testing.
5) The BAC Limits are the Same for All Drivers.
Stricter laws apply to truck drivers and others holding commercial driver’s licenses. DWAI and DWI convictions can be obtained with lower BAC levels than for regular drivers.
Contact a Long Island DWI Lawyer at 888-DUI-Lawyer Today
888-DUI-Lawyer has DWI attorneys skilled and experienced with DWAI/DWI arrests. Contact us at 888-384-5299 or contact us online for a free consultation. If you are pulled over and charged, call immediately to protect your rights. Be careful what you say to the police officers. What you say can and will be used against you at your trial.