A New York City DWI can be charged under one of two sections of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). The first of the two sections is VTL 1192.2 which requires a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading of .08 or greater. Common language on the face of a Criminal Court Complaint when this is alleged may read something like this:
"...the defendant operated a motor vehicle while he had 0.08 of one per centum and more by weight of alcohol in blood as shown by chemical analysis of his blood, breath, urine, and saliva made pursuant to section 1194 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law."
Essentially, the police officers allege that they obtained a breath sample from you and that your BAC was more than .08. If you refuse to take the chemical test, you will face a separate and distinct penalty known as an administrative penalty. If this is the case, you will be required to attend a "refusal hearing" at DMV before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At the refusal hearing, if the ALJ finds that you refused to take a chemical test after the proper instructions and warnings were provided to you, your license will be revoked for one year.
The other VTL section under which an individual can be charged with DWI is VTL 1192.3. This is an unclassified misdemeanor and does not require that the officers obtain a breath or blood sample from you in excess of the legal limit. Often times, all that is required is that the officer will allege that based on his experience, and based on his observations of you at the time of the incident - you had bloodshot watery eyes, you were unsteady on your feet and swaying and you displayed other characteristics, that in the experience of the officer, indicated that you were under the influence of alcohol.
An NYC DWI Attorney can review the strengths and weaknesses of the state's case against you and then develop an appropriate strategy going forward, so early contact with a criminal defense lawyer is advisable.