BAC Levels

Were you or someone you love arrested for DWI and want to know more about BAC levels in New York? Read this article by experienced Jamestown DWI attorney Scott Humble and contact him today to arrange a free confidential consultation. 

BAC LevelsBefore breathalyzers were invented, there was common law DWI, and that is when you can’t pass a field sobriety test and you smell like alcohol. Since the invention of the breathalyzer, there’s a statutory amount that you can drink before driving. The amount that you can have, as far as a blood alcohol content level goes has gradually gone down over the years for safety purposes. The nationwide BAC level, and New York State adheres to this, is a .08% BAC. It is the least amount that you can have and be charged with DWI. If you are under the age of 21, and blow lower than the .08, and that is a different case entirely. If you blow a BAC up to .17, you’re still within a DWI and .18 is where you cross the line into aggravated DWI.

The consequences for all the types of DWI charges are major and they only escalate according to the severity of the crime. Under New York state law, individuals charged with driving while intoxicated for the first time will face a loss of driving privileges for at least six months, a fine of $500 to $1000, and a maximum jail sentence of one year. If convicted, they will have to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on their cars in order to demonstrate sobriety before driving in the future. Drivers charged with DWI for the second time must grapple with a class E felony conviction, and penalties include a one-year suspension of driving privileges, a fine of $1000 to $5000, and a maximum jail term of four years. A third DWI charge is a class D felony, and the consequences are unsurprisingly just as serious: a fine of $2000 to $10,000 and a maximum jail sentence of seven years.

Note that the above penalties apply only to driving while intoxicated, which concerns driving with a BAC level of .08 or higher—or of .04 or higher for drivers of commercial vehicles. Driving with a BAC level between .05 and .08 counts instead as driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI/alcohol). Because the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is lower, the penalties are somewhat reduced. A first DWAI/alcohol conviction results in a 90-day revocation of driving privileges, a fine of $300 to $500, and a sentence of up to 15 days in jail. A second conviction can incur a six-month suspension of one’s license, a fine between $500 and $700, and a maximum of 30 days in jail. A third, fourth, or subsequent DWAI/alcohol conviction bears with it a fine totaling $750 to $1500 and a jail sentence of up to 180 days.

If you or someone you love was arrested for DWI and has questions about the BAC levels in New York, contact us today to arrange a free confidential consultation with dedicated Jamestown DWI lawyer Scott F. Humble. Let his 30+ years of experience work for you.

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