New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.4: Driving while ability impaired by drugs

Just as it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol, it is also illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs. In fact, there are separate offenses in the Vehicle and Traffic Law code that specifically address driving while under the influence of drugs. New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.4 makes it illegal to drive a vehicle while impaired by drugs. In order to be convicted of this crime the prosecutor must be able to show that at the time you were driving your ability to drive was impaired because you were under the influence of drugs. To face prosecution under this statute it does not matter if you were impaired by an illegal drug or by a legally obtained prescription drug.

Unlike with alcohol intoxication, there is no similar field test to show when someone is impaired by drugs. In some cases trained drug recognition experts are called in to assist when a driver is suspected of being impaired by drugs.

Example

A man drove the wrong way on a divided highway, colliding with another vehicle. The occupants of the other vehicle were seriously injured. A sample of the man's blood was obtained pursuant to a court order. An analysis of it revealed the presence of a significant concentration of cocaine. This man could be prosecuted for driving while ability impaired by drugs based on the presence of cocaine.

Related Offenses
  1. Driving while ability impaired: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.1
  2. Driving while intoxicated; per se: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.2
  3. Aggravated driving while intoxicated; per se: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.2(2-a)
  4. Aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.2-a(b)
Defenses

To prevail the prosecutor must be able to prove that you were impaired by drugs at the time that you were driving. While a blood test may show the presence of drugs, you may be able to successfully argue that the concentration of drugs in your system at the time you were driving was not sufficient to cause you to be impaired.

Sentence

If it is your first offense driving while impaired by drugs is a misdemeanor. The sentence will include the payment of a fine of $500-$1,000, a jail term of up to 1 year, or both. Your driver's license will be suspended for at least 6 months.

If it is your second offenses within the prior 10 years, the offense will be considered a class E felony. The punishment will be a fine of $1,000-$5,000 and imprisonment of up to 4 years. Your license will be revoked for at least 1 year.

For your third driving while impaired by drugs conviction, the offense will be considered a class D felony. You will be required to pay a fine of $2,000-$10,000 and you will be sentenced to a prison term of up to 7 years. Your license will be revoked for at least 1 year.

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.4: Driving while impaired by drugs

No person shall operate a motor vehicle while the person's ability to operate such a motor vehicle is impaired by the use of a drug as defined in this chapter.

The Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help

If you are charged with driving while impaired by drugs, you should take it seriously. The consequences will be more than a temporary suspension of you driving privileges. You may end up in prison and you may be required to pay a steep fine. Because of what is at stake it is important that you are represented by someone who has experience. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with reckless driving, DUI, vehicular homicide, and other serious crimes. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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