New York Common Law DWI Lawyer

Were you arrested for a DWI, and refused a blood alcohol chemical test? If so, here is some information you need to know about a common law DWI charge, and how it could affect you.

DWI: What It Means

Driving while intoxicated, informally called “drunk driving,” is a charge that can be brought against a New York driver that operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Under the“per se” DWI charge, a driver must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08% to be charged.  A driver’s BAC is often determined using a chemical test, such as a breath test. Alternate forms of chemical tests include blood tests and urinalysis. These test results, along with other evidence, are used against the driver to prove he or she was in fact intoxicated while driving. The penalties upon conviction for a per se DWI charge can include jail time, fines and surcharges, a 6-month license revocation, and required installation/maintenance of ignition interlock device for up to 1 year.

Chemical Test Refusal and Common Law DWI

What happens if the driver refuses to take the chemical test? Can he or she still be charged with a DWI if there is no test result showing their BAC is at least 0.08%? Yes, a New York driver can and will be arrested and charged with a DWI even if they refuse a breath or other type of BAC chemical test. This type of DWI is called a common law DWI.

A common law DWI uses evidence other than chemical test results to show the driver was intoxicated. So, what kind of evidence can be used? Other types of evidence used to prove intoxicated can include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Alcohol odor
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Physical condition
  • How they drove
  • The circumstances of any accident that occurred
  • In-field sobriety tests
  • Police observations

These factors, among others, can be used as evidence that a driver was intoxicated. All circumstances are considered in a common law DWI.

A driver convicted of a common law DWI will face penalties including:

  • Misdemeanor conviction resulting in a permanent criminal record
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • A maximum fine of $1,000
  • A minimum of a 6-month license revocation
  • Required installation and maintenance of Ignition Interlock Device for 1 year

These penalties are in addition to any a driver could face due to refusing a chemical test.  In New York, refusing a chemical test can result in a license revocation of 12 to 18 months, and a fine of up to $750.  The most common chemical test, the breath test, can often lead to inaccurate results.  However, chemical tests are usually relied on for evidence of a driver’s intoxication, so drivers who refuse these tests can be charged with a refusal and penalized.

Call an Experienced NY DWI Lawyer Now

If you have been charged with a common law DWI, or any related charge, contact the experienced DWI lawyers at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today.Our team of dedicated attorneys will aggressively defend you against the charges, and will strive to ensure your best possible results. Contact us right now for a free case evaluation.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.  Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.  Attorney Advertising.