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Brooklyn New York DUI/DWI Defense Law Blog

Predictable effects and charges in DWI cases

In New York, drunk driving is a major concern, as it is in almost every city, town, district, or municipality in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that driving under the influence of alcohol accounts for thousands of deaths each year in the United States. Alcohol affects people in certain ways the CDC finds “predictable,” including reduced ability to respond while driving, loss of visual acuity, difficult concentrating, distorted perception and loss in short-term memory. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level seems to directly correlate with the severity of impairment.

The penalties for drunk driving in New York, as provided by the New York Department of Vehicles, include fines that range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars and jail time ranging from a few days to several years. Repeat offenders must pay larger fines and submit to longer jail sentences. In New York, a higher BAC can result in a more severe sentencing and fines. According to the New York DMV, factors such as weight, age, and gender can also affect BAC levels.

Treatment for convicted persons

A fatal car crash in New York illustrates how a person may commit a criminal act without being a criminal.

Recently, a driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter, according to, after police learned that his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was 0.12 percent at the time of the crash that caused the death of his passenger. The crash in Herkimer County appeared to be almost solely caused by impaired driving and speeding.

Vicarious criminal liability in car accidents

You may hear reports of car accidents in Brooklyn caused by unlicensed drivers that often solicit a chuckle or two. Yet such situations are no laughing matter, particularly if your car was involved. People have come to us here at the office of Neil. S Ruskin in similar scenarios asking if there is any why they could be held criminally responsible.  The doctrine of negligent entrustment allows car accident victims to hold you liable of you entrusted your vehicle to an irresponsible driver. This principle, however, applies only to civil cases. You may not be totally off the hook just yet, though.

Section 509 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Laws states that no unlicensed driver shall operate a motor vehicle in any of the following situations:

  •          On a public highway
  •          Upon a sidewalk
  •          To or from any public garage or car wash
  •          In a lot adjacent to a public garage, car wash, supermarket or shopping center

DUI suspect turns out to be driver’s ed teacher

Those who plan to go out for a night of drinking in New York are soundly encouraged to elect a member of their group to be the designated driver (or to at least bring spare change for cab fare). If, however, one does happen to get behind the wheel and is them later stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence, his or her actions may be what determines not only what sort of criminal charges he or she may face, but also what sort of repercussions may be felt in his or her personal life.

No one wants the stigma of having been arrested for DUI hanging over them, much less one whose job involves driving. Yet that is just what a Florida man is facing after having been arrested for both driving drunk and being involved in a hit-and-run. Law enforcement officials stopped the man after his whereabouts where made known by the driver of the car he rear-ended. His appearance and speech gave the indication he had been drinking (a fact he confirmed on his own), and he subsequently failed the field sobriety tests he was given. His level of intoxication was not confirmed, however, as he refused to take a breathalyzer test. What makes this man’s predicament all the more troubling is that he works as a driver’s education teacher at a local high school (he has since been placed on leave).

Highlighting how alcohol is metabolized in the body

Most in Brooklyn likely have a good understanding of the affect that alcohol has on the body, yet it is also well known that it does eventually work its way out of one’s system. Understanding how alcohol is metabolized in the body may help people better understand how long they should wait after drinking to be able to safely get behind the wheel again.

According to information shared by the Department of Recreation and Wellness at Bowling Green University, trace amounts of alcohol are immediately absorbed by the tongue and mucosal lining of the mouth upon ingestion. From there, it goes to the stomach, where it then enters the bloodstream by penetrating the tissue lining of the stomach and small intestine. Once in the bloodstream, it is then carried throughout the body, making one feel it’s full affect within 15-45 minutes.

Drowsiness as a defense for vehicular manslaughter

The term “vehicular manslaughter” may cause you as well as other Brooklyn residents to conjure up images of drivers recklessly using their vehicles as veritable weapons. Yet as many of those that we here at the office of Neil S. Ruskin have defended from such charges can attest to, any number of factors can lead to one being accused of such a crime. For example, say that you inadvertently fall asleep behind the wheel and you end up causing an accident that kills another. Could your conduct warrant being charged with vehicular manslaughter?

 This crime is often grouped into those termed to be forms of involuntary manslaughter. To be charged with involuntary manslaughter, it must be shown that your actions, on top of having taken the life of another, were inherently dangerous or done with little regard for others, and that you were aware of such a fact. As few ever intend to fall asleep behind the wheel, it may be argued that drowsy driving does not meet the standard of negligence.

Handling vehicular assault charges

If you have been charged with vehicular assault, you may be facing all sorts of problems. For starters, you could be extremely overwhelmed and unsure of which steps you should take next. Brooklyn defense attorney Neil S. Ruskin understands the whirlwind of stress and uncertainty that people in this position frequently go through across New York. When these allegations arise, the outcome of the case can have a significant impact on those facing charges and the proper course of action must be identified at once.

You may be charged with vehicular assault for a wide variety of reasons. For example, a child may have sustained an injury in an accident while they were riding along with you in the car and you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Often, people face vehicular assault charges when they are accused of driving under the influence and causing a traffic collision that leaves someone in another vehicle hurt. Regardless of the exact nature of your case, the outcome of these charges can be devastating and it is vital to carefully analyze all of your legal options if you have found yourself in this situation.

What are the consequences of underage DUI charges?

When it comes to underage drunk driving charges, there are a wide variety of considerations that you may have to think about. For example, you may be the parent of a teenager who was charged with drunk driving, or you could have been accused of this offense after you were pressured to get behind the wheel by some of your peers. In Brooklyn, and all across the state of New York, it is vital to realize the different ways these charges could affect you.

Those who have been charged with drunk driving while under the age of 21 may face numerous penalties, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. For example, they may have their driver's license revoked and be required to pay stiff financial penalties. Depending on the details of the case, young drivers charged with DUI may also have to spend time behind bars. However, it is important to keep in mind some of the other consequences that may come with underage DUI charges. For example, losing the ability to drive could interfere with school or work. Moreover, these charges could create significant problems with family members and come back to haunt a young person in the future.

How does the one-leg stand test work?

If you are like most people in New York, the sight of flashing blue lights in a rear view mirror can make your heart start pounding faster than normal. You might even start breathing more rapidly or shallowly due to an increase in nervousness. If during your conversations with an officer, you are asked to perform field sobriety tests because it is suspected that you may have alcohol in your system, these symptoms may exacerbate. In fact, these things may even hinder your ability to perform these tests accurately.

As explains, the tests used during an investigation for suspected driving under the influence are not 100-percent accurate. One of the tests is called the one-leg stand test and it measures your ability to balance and your ability to execute multiple instructions at once. Both of these things may be compromised when you are extremely nervous or scared. If you have a physical or medical condition such as problems with a hip or knee joint, your ability to pass this test could be hindered even more.

STOP-DWI program in full force

As summer heats up in New York, so does enforcement of drunk driving laws across the state. As the Times Telegram reports, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, and law enforcement statewide participated in the STOP-DWI program to crack down on impaired driving. There are 13 percent more deaths over the holiday weekend than on a regular weekend, so many law enforcement agencies were involved in the effort, including both local and state police agencies. The special focus on DWIs ran from May 26 to May 29, where more drivers were stopped at checkpoints than a typical weekend.

While the first weekend of intense patrols has passed, the program is just getting started for 2017. In addition to Memorial Day weekend, the STOP-DWI Foundation also focuses efforts over the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend, Halloween and throughout the winter holiday season. The efforts are funded by the STOP-DWI Association, as well as the Foundation and a grant from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

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