Stewart A. McMillan, Esq.

The New Crime of Aggravated DWI

In November 2006 New York State enacted the new crime of Aggravated DWI. Under the new statute a driver whose chemical test (blood, urine or breath) reading is .18% or higher (of their blood alcohol content) or "BAC" is dealt with much more severely than in the past.

Drivers whose BAC is .18% or more are now charged under this statute which contains enhanced penalties. It calls for a fine of not less than $1,000 dollars or up to 1 year in jail, or both. If a driver is convicted of Aggravated DWI the law also now requires that the driver install a breathalyzer device attached to his/her car's ignition, possibly for the entire term of probation, of three years (that is if you are permitted to drive at all).

For operators of taxicabs, buses or other commercial motor vehicles including semi-trailers or rigs, the stakes are even higher. If you are charged with DWI/DUI while operating such a vehicle - it is now a felony. Moreover, you are subject to losing your ability to drive (i.e. your livelihood could be in jeopardy).

Under the new law, a prosecutor or assistant district attorney no longer has the ability to reduce this charge (for one charged with DWI or DUI) to a violation or DWAI. After November 2006 if your test reads above .18% the best plea offer you can now hope to be granted is a misdemeanor. That is just one of many reasons why it is so important that you consult with a lawyer or attorney experienced in defending drunk driving or DWI related offenses.

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