You probably think about a DWI as driving while intoxicated by alcohol. Interestingly, though this is the most common use of the term, it is not the only thing that DWI means. DWIs can also be given to those who use drugs or take prescription medications before driving and are not able to drive safely.
Essentially, any impairing substance can result in a DWI, which is why it’s important to understand how your medications impact you. While a Breathalyzer test won’t be able to identify drugs in your body, urine or blood tests could, and you could end up facing a DWI or other charges for what is found in your system.
New York law treats DWIs harshly
Alcohol and drug-related violations of the DWI laws in New York are penalized harshly because of the dangers of driving while impaired. You may face charges such as a DWAI/Drug or DWAI/Combination if you have been using medications or illegal drugs or if you use them in combination with alcohol and cause an accident or are stopped for driving under the influence.
Driving while intoxicated or while impaired by drugs can lead to a mandatory fine of between $500 and $1,000. You may also lose your license for six months or longer and could go to jail for up to a year for a first offense. If this is not your first offense, then the penalties are higher. You could face up to four years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. You may also have your license revoked for up to a year.
The penalties for these crimes are severe which is why you need to defend yourself if you’re accused of them. It is not a good idea to try to talk your way out of the charges or to ignore them thinking that the fact that your medications were legal will have an impact on your case.
You have a right to defend yourself and should do so. Get to know more about your legal rights and be prepared to negotiate and go to court to protect yourself against a conviction if necessary.