DWAI Drugs - Penalties
A recent development in New York in the prosecution of VTL § 1192(4) cases is the growing use of Drug Recognition Experts, or DREs, by law enforcement to examine accident victims and motorists suspected of a driving while ability impaired by drugs (DWAI-Drugs). The protocol for a DRE examination is quite similar to that of a field sobriety test in that its purpose is to determine whether you exhibit certain objective or recognizable symptoms or side-effects of a controlled substance. Specifically, it is the DRE’s job to determine through these series of tests (1) whether or not you are of impaired mental or physical ability; (2) whether that impairment, if any, relates to the prior use or ingestion of drugs, whether illegal or prescribed; and (3) whether that drug qualifies as a controlled substance under Section 3306 of the New York Public Health Law. If the DRE officer determines that you are of impaired driving ability due to previously consuming a controlled substance, their observations and conclusions may be offered by prosecutors at a later criminal trial on the issue of impairment.
With the testimony of Drug Recognition Experts in hand, the prosecution does not need to show cumulative traffic infractions or egregious driving conduct to establish you were impaired. As all top New York DWI and DWAI-Drugs defense lawyers know, the standard of impairment for the misdemeanor offense of DWAI-Drugs is identical to the violation of Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (or DWAI-Alcohol). Specifically, for both of these offenses, the prosecution does not need to prove you were intoxicated or utterly incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Rather, all they are required to show is that your mental faculties and coordination level had been diminished, ever so slightly, from what would otherwise be expected of a reasonably safe driver in a sober condition. With such a low standard for impairment, driving in New York after ingesting any substance that may alter or dilute any possessed motor skills is an extremely risky proposition, especially if you hope to avoid the consequences of a public NewYork DWI / DWAI-Drugs criminal conviction on your record.
In the event of a conviction under VTL § 1192(4) – New York’s drugged driving statute – the following penalties and punishments may be imposed for a first time offense:
At the Judge’s Discretion
- Incarceration in jail for up to one year
- A period of probation of three years
- A fine of $500 to $1,000
- Revocation of defendant’s vehicle registration for a period of at least six months
- Attendance at a session of a victim impact panel
Mandated By Statute
- Surcharge Fee of $370
- Crime Victim Assistance Fee of $25
- Revocation of driver’s license for a period of at least six months
An individual whose license is revoked solely for having been convicted of a VTL § 1192(4) offense will generally not be eligible to receive a conditional license for the period of lost driving privileges.Schedule Your Free Consultation Today With the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman
If you or a family member has been arrested for a DWI or DWAI-Drugs offense, please be diligent in the search for an attorney as the ramifications of a conviction in these cases can be severe. With over 30 years of cumulative practice experience, the top New York DWI and DWAI-Drugs defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have handled scores of these cases in the Greater New York City Area, including the suburban counties of Long Island and Westchester. While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome for your DWAI-Drugs case, we can provide the guidance and representation you need to both understand and address the legal consequences of a New York drugged driving arrest.
Speak to one of the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 and begin the process of preparing a defense the charges of drugged driving today. Your clean record and liberty may depend on it.