New York has severe penalties to combat impaired driving. This reckless behavior has resulted in one-third of the auto accidents in the state.
Police may stop suspected drunk drivers and conduct field sobriety tests. If arrested, the driver must submit to a chemical test to detect the blood alcohol content or face driver license suspension.
A driver with a BAC of 0.08 is four times more likely to cause an accident. A driver with a BAC of 0.16 has a 25 times greater likelihood of causing a crash than a sober motorist. It is also illegal to possess alcohol beverages with the intent to consume under New York’s open container law.
Criminal convictions can lead to imprisonment up to seven years and fines as high as$10,000 depending on the number of offenses that were committed. Offenders may also install an ignition interlock device, which measures the operator’s breath, at their own expense for drunk driving convictions. A vehicle equipped with this device may not be operated unless the driver provides an acceptable sample breath. Impaired driving resulting in death or injury may also constitute criminal vehicular homicide or vehicular assault.
Leandra’s Law punishes a driver who operates a vehicle with a passenger under 16 years old while drunk or under the influence of drugs. Violations constitute a Class E felony with four year’s imprisonment. Impaired driving that causes the death of a passenger under 16 years-old is a Class B felony punishable by a 25-year jail term.
Drivers under 21 who drank any alcohol and drove face a one-year license suspension and other fines. Commercial drivers are held to more stringent BAC levels and face license revocation for driving while impaired.
Laws will not entirely end drunk driving car accidents. Drunk driving victims and their families should seek prompt advice to protect their rights to damages for serious injuries and other losses and meet filing deadlines.
Source: New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, “You And The Drunk Driving Laws,” Accessed Nov. 2, 2014