The most widely known criminal driving matter is DWI or driving while intoxicated. If convicted of this charge for the first time, your drivers license is automatically revoked for six months, you must take a drunk driver program and face fine, probation and possibly jail. Another similar charge is driving while impaired by alcohol (or drugs) which is not a crime but does carry a 90-day suspension and a fine upon conviction.
The distinction between DWI and driving while impaired is based upon the difference in blood alcohol content. Between .05 and .07 of blood alcohol level qualifies for a driving while impaired charge while .08 or higher qualifies for DWI treatment. Of course, if personal injury or property damage arises out of an alcohol-related accident, additional charges may be brought. More severe consequences will be imposed for repeat offenders, drivers of commercial vehicles and those under 21 years of age. These types of matters are adjudicated in a regular criminal court, such as 100 Centre Street, in Manhattan.
Anther common driving criminal matter is aggravated unlicensed, a misdemeanor. A person may be charged with this crime when he or she drives a motor vehicle knowing or should knowing that his or her license is suspended. If the person has three or more suspensions on three or more dates, then a more serious type of aggravated unlicensed (also a misdemeanor) will be charged. If the person has ten or more suspensions on ten or more dates, then the aggravated unlicensed charged will be a felony. Conviction of any of these charges involves a $250 or more fine and results in a criminal record, and could also result in jail time. These types of matters are handled in the regular criminal court.
A similar criminal matter is driving with a suspended registration. If you own the vehicle in question, it is a difficult to defend such a charge. The District Attorney, however, does have to prove that you knew or should have known that your registration was suspended when you were driving your automobile.
Another criminal driving matter is leaving the scene of an accident. It is a misdemeanor to leave the scene of an accident involving personal injury. Even if there is only property damage, serious consequences may be imposed upon a motorist who leaves the scene of an accident, including imprisonment.
In New York City, other driving criminal matters are often resolved in the Summons Assignment Part (SAP), such as the one located at 346 Broadway, Manhattan. One common example is reckless driving. This charge is a misdemeanor and carries 5 points upon conviction. Usually, the motorist charged with such a crime will be given a pink colored ticket which must be answered in the SAP court. If the back of the original summons is not properly completed, the defendant or motorist should ask for a dismissal. Otherwise, the defendant must go to trial or work out some type of plea bargain. Obviously, a plea involving no criminal record or points is most desirable.
Although this Article should be helpful, it is always advisable to consult with an attorney when faced with a criminal matter of any kind.