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Leading New York DUI Lawyer Explains DUI

What is DUI? Definition of Driving Under Influence

Driving under the Influence, (DUI), drunk driving, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, drinking and driving or diminished driving are all the crime of driving a motor vehicle while diminished by alcohol or other drugs — including those prescribed by physicians.

The criminal offense does not necessarily have to involve actual driving of the vehicle, but may include being physically in possession and control of a vehicle while intoxicated even if the person charged with DUI is not driving, nor has any intention of driving.

DUI Offenses and Penalties

1. 1st Offense

Your initial conviction for DUI in New York State, with a BAC of .08 or higher, is a misdemeanor. You will be fined between $500 and $1000 and perhaps spend up to a year in jail. You will lose your privilege to drive for a minimum of six months and be ordered to pay a conviction surcharge. After conviction, but prior to sentencing, you will be required to join a drug and alcohol assessment, at your cost.

2. 2nd Offense

A second DUI offense within 10 (ten) years of the initial DWI will be a Class E Felony. This will cost you a fine between $1000 and $5000. You will be sentenced to a minimum stay of 10 days in lockup with a maximum of seven years. Once you get released, you will be required to perform 60 hours of community service. Additionally, you will have to pay for an ignition interlock for your car as well as an alcohol/drug assessment.

3. 3rd Offense

A third offense in New York is a Class D Felony. You will be fined a minimum of $2000 with a maximum of $10,000. You will have to serve a compulsory minimum of ten days in jail and you could also be looking at up to seven years behind bars.Your license to drive will be suspended for a minimum of one year and you will have to pay for an interlock device once your license suspension is complete.


Bukh Law Firm understand the maze of drunk driving laws in New York. Contact our skillful NYC DUI lawyers at 212-729-1632.


DUI as a Felony

The difference between misdemeanor and felony is determined by the type and length of the punishment for the crime. Misdemeanors have the potential of incarceration in the local jail for up to one year. Felonies typically result sentencing to state prison for more than a year.

A first-time DUI is typically listed as a misdemeanor. It would be indicted as a felony if an individual was injured because of drunken driving. If the victim dies, the charges will be boosted to reckless homicide.

Depending on the circumstances, a DUI in New York may be boosted to felony status as well if it is the accused’s 2nd, 3rd or fourth DUI. Please contact your lawyer to find out how to avoid being charged with a felony.


Blood Alcohol Levels (BAC) in New York

All fifty states prohibit driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. The .08 limit is the standard for the impaired driver. New York State has lower limits for Commercial drivers, .04 and drivers under the age of 21, .02.

DUI Laws in New York


Your first attendance in court will be an arraignment hearing. The court will read the charges you face and ask for your plea. Normally, you should plead “not guilty.”

The judge will look at your bail amount and make a decision about raising it, lowering it or leaving it as is. The judge may also decide to release you on your own recognizance without the requirement of additional bail.

The prosecutor will provide your NYC drunk driving attorney with copies of the evidence surrounding your case. Evidence such as police reports, blood alcohol test results and any other important paperwork pertinent to your case.

Preliminary Hearing

During your preliminary hearing, the judge will decide if the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to persuade a panel of adjudicators that you were driving under the influence. This will be your attorney’s opportunity to see the prosecution’s case and advise you about your options.

Plea Bargaining

Plea bargains involve striking a deal with the District Attorney. Plea bargaining is discouraged in DUI cases. There may be times when your DUI lawyer can reach an agreement with the prosecution to have a DWI or DUI charge condensed to a less serious charge.

Pretrial Motions

A New York City DUI lawyer will probably submit motions to have particularly damaging evidence kept out of the trial. Some of the items your attorney may try to make go away include:

* Physical evidence such as cans or bottles removed from your car by the police
* Results of Blood Alcohol Tests
* Anything incriminating you may have said to the officer when you were arrested


While many DUI cases are resolved without going to trial, the possibility remains that you will be tried. If so, the trial will proceed in a predictable pattern:

  1. Jury selection, unless it is a trial by judge
  2. Opening statements by your attorney and the prosecution
  3. Testimony from the arresting officer and any witnesses
  4. Cross-examination by the prosecution and defense attorneys of any witnesses
  5. Motions from your NY DUI attorney after the prosecution has finished presenting their case
  6. Both sides give closing arguments where they sum up the evidence and explain how the law applies to your face
  7. Jury instructions from the judge letting the jury know what is required and what parameters to follow
  8. The jury will deliberate, before
  9. Announcing its verdict

When you are accused of DUI, it is not the time to listen to jail house lawyers. Contact Bukh Law Firm immediately to help guarantee your case will have the best possible outcome.



If you’re found guilty, there are a range of possibilities facing you. The judge may choose to penalize you with:

In addition to this list, you may also lose your driving privileges or get a conditional license with restrictions

The best thing you can do to help yourself through the legal process is to retain a lawyer whom you can trust. Contact a skilled DUI/DWI attorney as soon as you’re charged so that you have the best possible outcome.

New York City DUI Factoids *2012 Figures

Total DUI Related Fatalities 344
Under 21 DUI Related Fatalities 32

Alcohol-Impaired Driving Deaths per 100K 1.8
Under 21 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Deaths per 100K .6

10-year Change in Alcohol Related Driving Fatalities per 100K – 1.6**
10-year Change in Alcohol-Related Driving Fatalities per 100K (under 21)**


Percent of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Involving BAC over .15
69.6 Per Cent of Drivers in Fatal Crashes Involving Repeat Offenders

BAC .08 – .14 41.7
BAC .15+ 58.3

Arrest Data
Under 18 DUI 196
Total: Driving Under the Influence 33053

NOTE: Source for this information: Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatality Data Source: NHTSA/FARS, 12/13


Legislation Affecting Drivers Under 21

In November, 1996, New York State placed one of the earliest “Zero Tolerance” laws regarding underage drinking into effect.

The Zero Tolerance law deals with individuals, under twenty-one, who operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more but not over .07%.

Despite the law being called “zero tolerance,” the minimum BAC is .02 and not 0 because certain cough syrups and mouthwashes contain alcohol. Also, some families permit the ingesting of small quantities of alcohol as part of religious or family functions. The New York State Legislature settled on placing the standard at .02% so that only young persons who had willfully consumed alcohol and operated a motor vehicle.


Bukh Law Firm understand the maze of drunk driving laws in New York. Contact a lawyer from our firm as soon as you have been arrested for DUI.
Call 212-729-1632.


Underage (Teen) Driving and DUI

New York sets the zero-tolerance for teenage drivers at .02. For adults, a .08 level is needed to prove DUI. The difference mandates that the minor caught driving with any quantity of alcohol in the system will have their license suspended or revoked. Punishments for teens convicted of A DUI are harsher for first time offenders than those for adults who become first-time offenders.

In New York, a teen DUI conviction, even for a first offense may bring up to twelve months in jail. Minors who have been convicted two or more times are always mandated to jail with the court having the leeway to sentence from several days to several years as laid out by the state legislature.

In many cases, the judge may choose to impound the car instead of requiring an interlock device on the ignition. Besides the criminal and civil penalties for driving underage while DUI there are additional social consequences. A minor convicted of a DUI is required to show the information on any college application where it will be held against him or her. Additionally, since New York classify a DUI conviction as a Class 1 misdemeanor, the minor’s criminal record will have a mark on it well into adulthood.

If You Are Below 21 and Are Pulled Over

If you’re under 21 and are stopped, you will be temporarily held so that a breathalyzer test can be administered.

If you decline a breath test, your permit may be canceled for a period of not less than one year.


BAC and How You Might be Charged

If your BAC is .02% or higher, but less than .07%
OFFENSE: Driving after having consumed alcohol (a zero tolerance violation)
PROCEDURE: Administrative Hearing

BAC >.05% but <.08%
OFFENSE: Driving while ability by alcohol (DWAI)
PROCEDURE: Criminal Court

BAC >.08%
OFFENSE: Driving while intoxicated
PROCEDURE: Criminal Court

Top Rated Criminal Lawyer

Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC


Division of Motor Vehicles Administrative Hearing

If you are indicted with operating a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol, you will have an Administrative Hearing. It is highly recommended that you take your defense lawyer with you. During the hearing, the arresting officer must prove:
  1. That you were the person in control of the vehicle
  2. That a valid request was made by an officer for you to submit to a breathalyzer
  3. That you were younger than 21 at the time of the incident
  4. That the chemical (BAC) test was properly performed
  5. That the test indicated you had consumed > .02% of alcohol
  6. That the police officer made a legal stop

You will be allowed to provide evidence and present witnesses in your defense. You will also be allowed to have an attorney with you, however since the hearing is not a criminal proceeding, you will not be allowed to be assigned a public defender. You will be accountable for all lawyer fees.

After each side has been heard the administrative law judge will make his decision.

If guilty of driving after consuming alcohol, you will not go to jail as it is not a criminal act. At the least though you will have your permit suspended for six months and pay a fine of $125. You will be charged an additional $100 fee to get your license reinstated. The infraction will stay on your record for thirty-six months or until you turn 21, whichever is longer.


Revocation of License

You will be required to surrender your permit to DMV and it will be prohibited for you to drive. At the end of the revocation, you may apply for a permit and go through the licensing procedure again just as you did when you first obtained a driver’s license. This does not mean a clean driving record. Any convictions you had with the license before revocation will still be on your driving record.When you are accused of DUI in New York, your life is about to enter a whirlwind of court appearances, lost time from work and some of the harshest fines in the nation – not to mention the possible loss of your freedom. Contact Bukh Law Firm immediately for an initial, no-cost consultation to learn how you can protect your rights.


Suspension of License

You will need to submit your license to DMV and it will be returned to you at the end of the suspension period. After surrendering your license it will be illegal for you to drive before its return to you.If your permit is suspended under the zero tolerance law, and there are no other previous alcohol-related convictions on your record, you may be eligible for a conditional license.

New York Law Firm, Bukh Law Firm, is well placed within the legal community to help you get a reasonable resolution to your DUI charge. The attorneys with Bukh Law Firm have helped thousands successfully deal with and handle a potential life disrupting event.


DUI Defenses in NYC

Smart criminal defense attorneys have several tactics that have worked in successfully defending against DUI charges. These include:

Question the Arrest

dui-small Most DUI arrests occur when a law enforcement officer observe what they think to be unsafe driving such as weaving, speeding or driving at night without lights. The first DUI strategy used here is to show that there were alternate reasons for the driver’s performance. If the defense attorney can show that they suspected DUI offender’s car was experiencing mechanical problems or that the driver was responding to an emergency, then often, the initial arrest is successfully questioned.

Question the Field Sobriety Test

Field sobriety tests are not definite proof that a driver was intoxicated, merely an indicator towards possible intoxication. If the defense lawyer can show that the “heel to toe” test was done on an uneven surface, then his or her next step will be to push for a ruling that the field sobriety test should not be accepted into evidence.

Question the BAC

The hardest evidence against which to defend is the breath alcohol content (BAC). If the defense attorney can show the results are inaccurate because law enforcement was careless in the procedures and protocols in giving the test, the BAC may be successfully challenged. A good attorney may also argue that the driver enjoyed a drink just before participating in the test, and the results were the measurement of the alcohol still in the driver’s mouth.


Why Hire DUI Attorney in New York

When someone is charged with DUI, their first reaction is typically to contact a lawyer with whom they are most familiar. Maybe it is an attorney that handled the closing on their home or their divorce. Or it could be their business attorney. All are good choices, but not the best.

If an individual is charged with DUI, they need a lawyer who is experienced in the layers of bureaucracy that created and adjudicates the law.

Defending against DUI charges requires fair different skills and abilities than someone who files papers with the County Clerk. A good DUI Defense attorney will have the relatively rare blend of aggressive courtroom tactics combined with a wealth of knowledge of DUI skills and the ability to show the prosecution why the charges should be dropped.

Effective DUI defense attorneys handle a range of DUI arrests, felonies, and other related offenses. When trying to find a good DUI attorney, concentrate on the attorney’s expertise, skill level and commitment. It is also imperative to retain an attorney who has the requisite skill levels and is the one who will conduct the majority of the work on the case.

Since the DUI laws in New York are a labyrinth, it is important that the attorney chosen have experience in the jurisdiction where the arrest occurred.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT.