You never know when you might encounter a New York police officer engaged in traffic enforcement. Sometimes they lie in wait outside of popular clubs and restaurants or just down the street from a major venue when there is a concert.
Other times, you will simply cross paths with an officer driving around looking for traffic infractions. An officer might pull you over because your behavior at the wheel makes them think you have had too much to drink. They will ask you questions and likely request a field sobriety test to confirm suspicions.
However, they might also start to suspect alcohol impairment if they pull you over for an issue with your brake lights or a speeding ticket. The way you act or answer their questions can lead to accusations of drinking and driving. It’s important that drivers understand that officers can arrest them for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense even if the driver did not initially display signs of impairment at the wheel.
Just exceeding the legal limit is against the law
In New York, a DWI charge can be the result of bad driving or of a technical infraction. Police officers can arrest you for displaying impaired skill or causing a crash. They can also arrest you based solely on chemical test results.
The state has a per se limit for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). For most drivers, this limit is 0.08%, but there are different rules for younger drivers and those with commercial drivers licenses. If your BAC is higher than the limit for your age and license type, then the officer can arrest you even if your driving was totally normal.
How do you defend against a per se DWI charge?
One of the most straightforward means of challenging a per se DWI charge will involve raising questions about the chemical breath test. When there were no other signs of impairment in your driving or performance on a field sobriety test, that might give you and the courts reason to question the validity of those test results.
Understanding the rules that apply to New York DWI charges can help you plan a defense after a surprise arrest.