There are dozens of ways for drivers to violate traffic laws, but some offenses are much more serious than others. Of the possible traffic violations a driver could commit, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most dangerous violations. A charge of DWI or Aggravated DWI (BAC .18 or higher) is a misdemeanor crime for 1st-time offenders.
Drivers face not only elevated crash risk but the possibility of criminal charges for driving after drinking. If you have been accused of impaired driving, you usually come to the attention of law enforcement through one of four common scenarios.
Your driving raises questions
People get arrested every day because their actions at the wheel make an officer think they are under the influence. From aggressively braking for no explicable reason to crossing over the center line in the road, there are numerous driving mistakes that might prompt an officer to question your sobriety and therefore pull you over.
You show signs of impairment during a stop
The initial stop may not be due to an officer thinking you had something to drink before they pulled you over. However, if an officer notices bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or the smell of alcohol, they may begin to suspect impairment and change the focus of their interaction with you.
Signs of impairment in an unrelated traffic stop could give an officer grounds to conduct a field sobriety test and then request a chemical breath test. For whatever reason the office made the initial stop, you can face a DWI if you violate the per se limit for your blood alcohol concentration.
You encounter a sobriety checkpoint
In New York, as in most other states, police departments frequently conduct DWI roadblocks, also known as sobriety checkpoints. They observe everybody on a certain section of road to briefly screen them for signs of intoxication.
You get into an accident
Whether or not you are the one responsible for the accident, you could still be subject to alcohol testing.
Making sense of your recent DWI charges often starts with understanding why the officer arrested you. From there, you may be able to plan to defend yourself. Mounting a successful DWI defense requires planning, but you can potentially avoid a conviction and all the consequences that it would bring, or reduction of the original charge.