New York Blood Alcohol Content

New York Blood Alcohol Content
In New York, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers over the age of 21 is .08%. If you are stopped and asked to take a chemical test, you may be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) if your BAC is over the legal limit.

Blood alcohol content is the amount, or concentration, of alcohol in your bloodstream. For law enforcement purposes, BAC is shown as the percentage of alcohol in deciliters of your blood, such as 0.08%. Many factors influence BAC such as number of drinks, gender, weight, and whether the alcohol was consumed on an empty stomach.

To determine BAC, your breath, blood, or urine may be tested. The breath test is the most commonly used because of its convenience and portability, but the blood test is said to be the most accurate of the three. The urine test may be used to test for drugs, but is rarely used to determine BAC.

BAC can affect people differently. For some, even a BAC as low as .02% may impair their ability to concentrate. However, once a BAC of .05% is reached, most people can become impaired. At this BAC level, a driver can experience problems with visual perception, reaction time, information processing, and slowed eye movement.

The penalties for driving with a BAC of .08% or higher may include jail time, probation, expensive fines, and the loss of driving privileges. Drivers with a BAC of .13% or higher may be charged with aggravated DWI and face increased penalties.

In some cases, the judge may order you to install an ignition interlock device in all of the vehicles that you own and drive. This small device measures your BAC before you can start the vehicle. If your BAC is over a preset limit, the car will not start.

Even if your blood alcohol content is under .08%, you may be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI) if the officer believes that your driving abilities are affected by alcohol. The officer may testify that your appearance, driving, and performance on the field sobriety test led him or her to believe that you were a less safe driver.