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Drunk driving in New York is not as simple as it seems

Summer seems in full swing up and down the East Coast, and good weather brings more people out onto the roads for sunshine and relaxation. Warm weather also makes it more stylish and enjoyable to have a few drinks, and there are many laws that keep this activity away from the roads.

New York and all other states make it illegal to drive while drinking or while drunk. Some states, including New York and nearby Connecticut, make a legal distinction between driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI).

If a driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher, he or she is legally drunk in New York. A higher BAC while driving constitutes a DWI, while a lower BAC indicates a possible DWAI charge.

There are some affirmative defenses for either charge, although they are rare circumstances. If a person must drive to save someone's life or is forced to drive after a legitimate threat, that person may present those circumstances as a defense in court.

A person may also have become intoxicated without knowledge or consent, or have had a reasonable expectation that he or she is no longer intoxicated. If these possibilities can be shown to a court's satisfaction, it may lead to dismissal of charges.

An attorney can always help someone accused of driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired in New York. Legal representation may increase the chances that charges are dismissed, reduced or otherwise made easier to bear for the accused driver.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," accessed June 08, 2018

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