Long Island, NY Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

After a fun night out in Long Island with friends or family, you do the responsible thing and arrange for a safe ride home: a designated driver, a rideshare service, or one of the thousands of taxis available. Unfortunately, though, not everyone on the road has made the same responsible decision.

After a drunk driving accident, your first concern is likely your health, including receiving necessary medical care immediately after the crash. In the days and weeks that follow, you could easily get overwhelmed by the financial, emotional, and physical damages you have suffered.

If you or a family member has been injured by a drunk driver, you also need legal help. The team at Cellino Law has been helping injured New Yorkers get the assistance they need for over 60 years. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with our Long Island drunk driving accident lawyers and discuss your motor vehicle accident

Why Drunk Driving is a Serious Problem

For decades, the dangers of impaired driving have become increasingly recognized. However, for the families who have been affected by a drunk driver, the seriousness of the problem becomes all the more clear.

Cellino Law’s lawyers have heard the stories of many Long Island drunk driving accident victims who have suffered serious harm, such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. We also sympathize with families who have lost their loved ones in a drunk driver accident.

New York drunk driving statistics

The State of New York prides itself on reducing drunk driving accidents, serious injuries, and fatalities over the past years. Despite certain improvements, New York continues to recognize the danger posed by drunk drivers.

The statistics make it clear that drunk driving continues to be a problem on New York roads:

  • There were 25,094 DWI arrests in 2018
  • More than 30 percent of fatal crashes in New York State are alcohol related
  • Drivers under the age of 21 are involved in 14 percent of alcohol-related crashes in New York State, despite making up only 5 percent of licensed drivers

Long Island has a particular issue with drunk driving fatalities. According to Responsibility.org, New York State saw 1.6 impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 population.

However, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data shows that both Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island had a higher incidence rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities than the state average.

In 2018, Nassau County saw an incidence rate of 1.62 DWI fatalities per 100,000 population, while Suffolk County saw a staggering incidence rate of 3.38 the same year.

The effects of alcohol on driving

When examining the effects alcohol impairment has on driving ability, it is little wonder why drunk driving is considered a serious offense.

Driving under the influence of alcohol affects a driver’s:

  • Ability to multitask: Alcohol reduces concentration. Drunk drivers are often unable to focus on the various tasks necessary to drive successfully and may be less aware of their surroundings. 
  • Coordination: Driving takes a lot of concentration. After drinking, a driver’s coordination is affected, making it difficult to properly steer, stay in the lane, and appropriately apply the gas and brakes.
  • Reaction time: Reaction time is significantly reduced after consuming alcohol. A dangerous or unexpected situation that could normally be avoided can quickly turn into a crash.
  • Judgment: Unsurprisingly, alcohol also inhibits a person’s ability to reason and accurately assess risks. Drunk drivers may fail to recognize a dangerous situation, or engage in risky behaviors, like driving too fast or taking unsafe turns.
  • Vision: A driver’s ability to avoid a hazard largely depends on seeing it. Alcohol negatively affects vision and depth perception, making it more difficult for drunk drivers to see potential obstacles or pedestrians.

A free consultation with a drunk driving accident lawyer at Cellino Law can provide you with the legal advice you need to plan your next steps after an accident.

How is Impaired Driving Defined in New York?

New York state law defines DWI or driving while intoxicated, as operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher or with other evidence of intoxication. For commercial drivers, the legal limit is 0.04 BAC.

There are several types of DWI-related offenses, each with its own penalties.

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated

An Aggravated DWI is when a driver has a BAC higher than 0.18.

Penalties for the first Aggravated DWI offense include:

  • Mandatory fine of $1000 to $2500
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • License revoked for a minimum of 1 year

For a second offense in 10 years:

  • Mandatory fine $1000 to $5000
  • Up to 4 years in jail
  • License revoked for a minimum of 18 months
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation

For a third offense in 10 years:

  • Mandatory fine of $2000 to $10,000
  • Up to 7 years in jail
  • License revoked for a minimum of 18 months
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation

Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI)

A DWAI is defined as a BAC of 0.05 to 0.07 with evidence of impairment.

For a first offense, the penalties are:

  • Mandatory fine of $300 to $500
  • Up to 15 days in jail
  • License suspended for 90 days

For a second offense within 5 years:

  • Mandatory fine of $500 to $750
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • License revoked for at least 6 months

For a third offense within 10 years:

  • Mandatory fine of $750 to $1500
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • License revoked for at least 6 months
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI/Drug) or (DWAI/Combination)

New York recognizes that drug use can impair a driver, whether used in combination with alcohol or not.

In the case of impairment by drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol, the consequences are the same as a DWI:

  • Mandatory fine of $500 to $1000
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • License revoked for at least 6 months

Second offense in 10 years:

  • Mandatory fine of $1000 to $5000
  • Up to 4 years in jail
  • License revoked for at least 1 year
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation

Third offense in 10 years:

  • Mandatory fine of $2000 to $10,000
  • Up to 7 years in jail
  • License revoked for at least 1 year
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation

Zero Tolerance law

Under the Zero Tolerance law, drivers under the age of 21 can be charged if they have a BAC of 0.02 to 0.07.

The penalties include:

  • $125 civil penalty plus $100 fee
  • License suspended for 6 months

Second offense:

  • $125 civil penalty plus $100 fee
  • License revoked for 1 year or until age 21

Chemical test refusal

New York operates under an implied consent law. This means that by operating a motor vehicle in the state, you inherently give consent to a chemical test of breath, blood, urine, or saliva to determine BAC or the presence of drugs.

A driver who refuses to give a chemical test may face:

  • $500 civil penalty, or $550 for commercial drivers
  • License revoked for at least 1 year, or 18 months for commercial drivers

Within 5 years of a DWI-related charge/refusal:

  • $750 civil penalty
  • License revoked for at least 18 months, or a permanent CDL revocation for commercial drivers

Refusal under Zero Tolerance law:

  • $300 civil penalty, $100 re-application fee
  • Revoked for at least one year

Subsequent refusal under Zero Tolerance law:

  • $750 plus $100 fee
  • Revoked for at least 1 year

What is the Difference Between Criminal Charges and Civil Claims?

While it is understood that DWI is a crime, not all drivers who were under the influence are charged or convicted with a DWI. If that is the case, is a victim still able to pursue civil action against the drunk driver in Long Island?

Here is where the difference between criminal charges and civil claims comes into play. In criminal cases, there is a high burden of proof for a conviction to be made. It must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” For civil cases, there must be a “preponderance of evidence,” meaning that the other party was more likely than not liable for the accident.

For those who have been injured by a drunk driver, this is good news. Whether criminal charges were brought against the other driver or not, a drunk driving accident lawyer with Cellino Law may still be able to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim against him or her to recover compensation for your losses.

You Can Trust the Long Island Team at Cellino Law After Being Injured by a Drunk Driver

After a drunk driving accident, your family deserves justice. Whether your crash resulted in serious injury or even tragic death, the drunk driving accident attorneys at Cellino Law can help you seek compensation for your financial and emotional losses, including:

  • Ambulance costs
  • Prescription medication
  • Surgical bills
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Replacement services

At Cellino Law, we know how important it is to work with a law firm that has both a trusted reputation and extensive resources and experience. Our award-winning attorneys are here to help you and your family begin to move forward after your drunk driving accident.

We understand that this is a stressful time for your family, and you likely have many questions and concerns that must be addressed. When you schedule a free consultation with the Cellino Law Long Island team, we can make arrangements to meet you at a time and place convenient for you so we can have that essential discussion.

We want to make it easy and affordable for you to get the legal help you need. Contact us today at 800-555-5555 to schedule your free consultation.



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