In Arthur L. Pressman Law Blog, DWI

Defending DWAI Drugs May Be Easier Than DWI AlcoholJerome Foltz was recently arrested for driving his lawn tractor while intoxicated in the streets of New Freedom, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office reports that a Buffalo man was arrested driving his motor home while drunk. For an experienced Buffalo DWI attorney, successfully handling such disparate cases is routine.

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New York’s Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) law

New York has a separate law that prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while the person’s ability is impaired by drugs. The penalties for DWAI-Drug convictions are the same as for driving while intoxicated (DWI).

  • A first DWAI-Drugs charge carries a mandatory fine of $500 to $1,000, up to one year in jail and six month license suspension.
  • A second DWAI-Drugs charge within 10 years is a class E felony. The punishments are a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, and up to four years in prison. Your driving privilege is revoked for 18 months.
  • A third offense within 10 years carries a fine of $2,000 to $10,000, up to seven years in prison and a revocation of driver’s license for 18 months.

New York law clearly defines “intoxicated” for a charge of DWI — if a person’s blood-alcohol content is .08 or higher for holders of driver’s license or .04 for holders of commercial licenses, the person is guilty of DWI. For DWAI-Drugs, on the other hand, there is no clear definition of what exactly “ability impaired” means. In these cases, prosecutors must introduce sufficient evidence of the driver’s impaired ability, such as dilated eyes, behavior and smell, to support the charge. This obligation to introduce evidence allows an attorney from a New York DWI law firm to challenge the evidence presented and introduce additional proof that the driver’s ability was not impaired.

In addition, when charged with DWAI-Drugs, you can plea bargain to a lesser charge — New York law does not allow plea bargaining in DWI cases. The ability to plea to a lesser charge enables a NY DWI attorney to help you resolve the matter more favorably.

When charged with DWI, your license is suspended until the matter is resolved. When charged with DWAI-Drugs, you usually do not lose your driving privileges during trial, which makes the entire process easier.

Call an experienced Buffalo DWI attorney to learn your rights

If you have been charged with DWAI-Drugs, it is important to solicit the assistance of an experienced DWI attorney who will fight for your best interests. Arthur L. Pressman, Attorney at Law has handled more than 40,000 cases. Call 716-984-1795 for experienced legal representation in DWI, criminal matters or traffic tickets.

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