A routine stop of a motorist on a New York street for a minor traffic violation can quickly escalate into much more serious charges if the police officer suspects that the person was driving while intoxicated. If the officer's suspicions are confirmed by a field sobriety test, it probably will result in an arrest and a chemical test to determine the individual's blood alcohol content level. The penalties for a conviction of drunk driving charges in New York are harsher for a motorist whose BAC level is high.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 160-pound man consuming two 12-ounce beers within an hour can register a 0.02 percent BAC level on a breath test and impair his ability to track moving objects and perform multiple tasks. A person getting behind the wheel of a car after consuming four beers in the same time period could have a BAC level of 0.08 percent with impaired concentration, the loss of short-term memory and an impaired ability to mentally process information.
Seven beers within 60 minutes can raise a person's BAC level to 0.15 percent or greater. An individual with a BAC level between 0.08 percent and less than 0.18 percent who is convicted on a DUI charge could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to spend up to a year in jail. The person could also be subject to license suspension for up to six months.
Penalties for a drunk driving conviction also increase when it is not the defendant's first such offense. Regardless of a person's prior record, legal assistance can often be advisable in attempting to combat these types of charges.