A DWI offense stands for “Driving While Intoxicated,” while DWAI stands for “Driving While Ability Impaired.” Both of these terms are used for the description of actions taken when a person drives under the influence of illicit drugs or prescription painkillers. New York State focuses on the driver’s level of impairment when judging the severity of the DWI. If a driver has a blood alcohol content between .04 and .07, or they show evidence that they have been mentally or physically impaired, they can be subject to a DWAI charge.
DWAI charges are considered a criminal law violation. If you’ve been charged with this offense, you need a New York defense attorney who’s experienced in DWAI and DUI negotiation. For a first time offense, a person with a DWAI might face fines between $500 and $1,000. There’s also a potential for up to one year spent in jail, along with loss of driving privileges for a minimum of six months.
If a second offense occurs within ten years, the mandatory fine will increase from $1,000 to $5,000. The potential prison term has a maximum of four years. For third offenses, a person might face fines of $10,000, prison sentences of up to seven years, and permanent revocation of their license.
If a person has been convicted of multiple DUIs within the last decade, they might be charged with a felony DUI rather than a misdemeanor. This results in additional fines and potential jail time.
Three different types of sobriety test might be performed by an arresting officer. The first is a field sobriety test, in which the officer might ask the person to walk a straight line or state the alphabet backward. A screening test is the next option, with a chemical test being the third. Screening tests are administered through the use of portable breath tests. Chemical tests are designed to detect the blood alcohol concentration of a person by using their blood. A chemical test must occur in the two hour period following the arrest.
It’s possible for false readings to occur with a breath test. Breath sprays, cough syrup, and mouth washes all have the potential to produce a false reading. It’s also possible for a person’s body temperature to affect the reading. Depending on the circumstances, a New York State court might throw out the results of a breath test because of the unreliability.
This is part of the reason that hiring a defense attorney is critical. Defense attorneys understand the way that DWAI cases are tried. They can ask the right questions, analyze the facts of your case, and make sure that all the rules were followed when your breath test was administered.
In most circumstances, it will be required for your employer to know that you’ve received a DWI charge. This can lead to additional personal consequences with tremendous impacts on your overall professional career. DWI charges have been known to cost people their jobs entirely.
An attorney might be able to help you avoid job dismissal or the suspension of your license. You may be granted a provisional license, which allows you to drive to and from work or school while your license is suspended. You might also be able to avoid having your license suspended if you agree to have an interlock system installed on your car. An interlock system measures the alcohol content of your breath before allowing you to start the car.
There are a number of options available for people who have been charged with DWAI. When you get in contact with an attorney, they can help you understand your options and make the best decision going forward. The law offices of Robert Tsigler are staffed with experienced attorneys who can help you navigate the complexities of the New York legal system.