If you have ever been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you may have been asked to take a breath test. Typically administered by having you blow into a breathalyzer, which is an instrument used to determine your blood-alcohol content, the breath test gives law enforcement an idea of whether you consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, and if so, how much. While breathalyzers are believed by many to be highly accurate, they are not fool- proof, and breathalyzer errors have been known to occur. Given how high the stakes and how harsh the punishments are if you end up facing a charge of driving under the influence, it is important to understand the variables that may impact the accuracy of your breath test.
Lindsey Lohan's mother, Dina Lohan, was in the news this week when she was sentenced in her New York drunk driving case.
Earlier this week, it was reported that a New York City man was arrested for allegedly driving drunk with an infant in his car. He is facing very serious criminal charges for the offense. There are only two situations in New York in which prosecutors have the ability to charge you with an aggravated DWI, and this is one of them.
Drunk driving laws are very tough in New York. People often find themselves pulled over and being accused of driving while intoxicated when they feel like they are perfectly safe to drive. Some drivers even purchase personal breath test devices and read up on drunk driving laws so that they can get an idea of the point at which an officer might consider them legally intoxicated, because the legal standards seem somewhat arbitrary to them.
Last month, we discussed the controversy that has arisen regarding a federal roadside survey intended to gather information about drunk driving and drugged driving. The survey is facilitated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has enlisted the help of both private contractors and local police departments. The contractors and police take motorists off of the roads across the country and ask them to provide blood samples, or breath or saliva samples. The goal of the survey is to learn how many Americans are driving drunk or while impaired by drugs, but motorists have complained that the methodologies are unconstitutional.
The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. This means that the government does not have the right to search an individual or his or her property without consent or a warrant. There are certain exceptions to this rule, but in general the government may not intrude into the lives of citizens without probable cause.
The consequences for driving drunk in New York are severe. A conviction for a DWI can result in fines, a revoked driver's license, jail time and more. Nonetheless, New York state lawmakers think that the laws are not tough enough, and they are working to strengthen DWI penalties.
Many DWI defendants in New York may think that they have no chance to successfully fight a conviction if the blood-alcohol evidence indicates guilt. While the existence of incriminating blood or breath evidence can make a case tough, DWI defendants should not give up. There are still viable defense options.
New York residents may be surprised to learn the number of women facing DWI charges is on the rise. FBI statistics show that the number of men arrested for drunk driving has declined since the mid-1990s, but in that same time the number of arrested women has increased. Male drivers still make up the bulk of DUI/DWI arrests, however, accounting for about 75 percent of arrests in 2011.
New York law is very tough on drunk drivers, but things are about to get even tougher. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill today that makes the consequences of a drunk driving conviction more serious than they have been.