New York Vehicular Crimes are prosecuted aggressively by District Attorney’s Offices across the state. Frequently, a conviction for a vehicular crime can not only result in a criminal record, but also lead to collateral consequences such as loss of driving privileges as well as forfeiture of your car. Therefore, when you are discussing your vehicular case with an attorney, it is important to understand that the resolution of the matter may have unintended collateral consequences that need to be thoroughly researched and explained by your attorney.
New York Vehicular Crimes range from simple speeding tickets that can result in a fine to felonies that can result in substantial jail time and a permanent criminal record. Examples of New York Vehicular Crimes include:
- Vehicular Manslaughter and Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter;
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI or DUI);
- Motor Vehicle Theft Charges;
- Reckless Driving;
- Vehicular Assault.
New York Vehicular and Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter
In the simplest terms, Vehicular Manslaughter and Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter charges involve causing the death of a person by a motor vehicle. There are three Vehicular Manslaughter charges under New York State Law. Ranging from most serious to least serious, these charges are:
- Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter;
- Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree; AND
- Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree.
All of these charges are felonies and can result in substantial jail time. The difference in these charges depends on the presence of aggravateing factors, such as:
- Prior conviction for a similar charge;
- Presence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both in the driver’s system;
- Causing the death of more than one person;
- Driver operating a motor vehicle with a child age 15 or younger in the car.
New York DWI or DUI
Operation of Motor Vehicle with BAC above .08
New York Driving While Intoxicated Charges as well as Driving Under the Influence charge are located in Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192. Under New York Law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with blood alcohol content above a .08. Doing so can result in you bring charged for violating New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192.2. This charge is an unclassified misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in jail .
Operation of Motor Vehicle with BAC above .18
There is also another DWI charge that contains a specific Blood Alcohol Content. That charge is called Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated and is codified in Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192.2-a. Similarly, this charge is also an unclassified misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
Operation of a Motor Vehicle When Ability to Drive is Impaired by Alcohol
Similarly, it is also against the law to operate a motor vehicle when the ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs. This charge is codified in VTL 1192.1 and does not require a specific blood alcohol content. Rather, the prosecutor will need to prove that your ability to drive was impaired by alcohol or drugs. This charge is considered to be an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor.
Driving While Intoxicated
Under New York Law, a specific Blood Alcohol Content is not necessary for an individual to be prosecuted for a DWI. If the prosecutor can demonstrate that the driver was intoxicated at the time of operation of the motor vehicle. that is sufficient to charge someone with Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192.3. This charge is an unclassified misdemeanor and is frequently brought when the driver refuses to take a breathalyzer or a blood test.
Operation of Motor Vehicle When Ability to Drive Impaired by Drugs or Combination of Drugs and Alcohol
It is a violation of New York Law to operate a motor vehicle when ability is impaired by drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. These charges are codified in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1192.2 and 1192.4-a and are unclassified misdemeanors.
New York Motor Vehicle Theft Charges
Another type of New York Vehicular Crimes is Motor Vehicle Theft charges. These charges include unlawful possession, operation, or taking of another person’s motor vehicle. Specifically, the following vehicular charges can be brought in the State of New York:
- Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle;
- Grand Larceny;
- Petit Larceny;
- Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.
Reckless Driving charges are brought in cases where the driver interferes with someone’s use of the road, or drives in a way that unreasonably endangers other drivers on the road. Reckless driving is an unclassified misdemeanor and thus is punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
Another type of New York Vehicular Crimes is Vehicular Assault. This charge is different from other New York Assault charges in that it has two elements:
- Use of a Motor Vehicle, AND
- Causing Serious Physical Injury to Another.
There are three different Vehicular Assault charges in New York. From the most serious to least serious, they are:
- Aggravated Vehicular Assault,
- Vehicular Assault in the First Degree,
- Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree.
All of these New York Vehicular Crimes are felonies, and are thus punishable by at least one year in prison.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding New York Vehicular Crimes
1. Are Vehicular Crimes Prosecuted by the state prosecutors at the District Attorney’s Office or are they handled by federal prosecutors?
Typically, New York Vehicular Crimes are prosecuted by the local District Attorney’s Offices on the state level, rather than by federal prosecutors. That is because state prosecutors have jurisdiction over enforcement of local criminal laws, while federal prosecutors investigate and prosecute violations of federal laws, which typically involve crimes happening on federal property or crimes that take place across state lines, or have some sort of interstate nexus. Federal prosecutors typically handle vehicular crimes when they occur on federal property, such as a state park.
2. Will My License Be Suspended As a Result of an arrest for a New York Vehicular Crime?
Your driving license (and therefore privileges to drive) may be suspended as a result of a New York vehicular crime, depending on the charge. For example, refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test will result in your license being suspended. Similarly, an arrest for reckless driving will result in a suspension of your driving license.
Frequently, the judge in criminal court will explain that you have the ability to apply for what’s called a conditional license. A conditional license is a license that granted by the DMV that allows you to drive to and from work, during certain hours. In order to qualify for a conditional license, you will need to make a showing that there is no public transportation alternative that allows you to get to and from work. Your conditional license will also allow you to travel to probation activities ordered by the court, medical appointments and your child’s daycare in some circumstances.
3. Should I Submit to a Blood Test or a Breathalyzer When I am Arrested?
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence a prosecutor can have in a DWI case are the results of your blood alcohol content. Although your attorney can argue at trial that there was something wrong with the breath sample or with the breathalyzer machine, these arguments won’t necessarily be persuasive to the jury. Although your license will be suspended for refusing to take the breathalyzer test, from a defense perspective, it is always easier to defend these New York Vehicular Crimes without a breathalyzer result.
4. Should I Agree to Do the Coordination Tests?
Similarly to the breathalyzer test, having a video recording of the coordination tests is very persuasive evidence to the jury. It allows the jury to see for themselves whether you are able to follow the Highway Officer’s instructions in completing the tests. Without video evidence, the jury has to believe the testifying officers beyond a reasonable doubt about their observations of your demeanor to ascertain whether you were impaired or intoxicated when you were operating a motor vehicle. Your case is much more defensible when you refuse the coordination tests and the breathalyzer or the blood test.
5. Can Police Get a Search Warrant for My Blood Sample or My Breath Sample on a DWI case?
In very limited situations, the police can apply for a search warrant from the judge compelling you to provide a sample of either your blood or your breath. These situations are limited to cases in which death or serious physical injury occured.
Contact New York Vehicular Crimes Attorneys Today
If you or your loved one is dealing with a vehicular matter, it is important to have counsel experienced in all aspects of these cases. In addition to the criminal matter, you also may be dealing with other collateral issues such as loss of your driving privileges, application for a conditional license and forfeiture of your vehicle. We have handled numerous vehicular cases for our clients. Please call us at 212-729-9494 or contact us today for your free initial consultation.