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Driving Under the Influence

It is a violation of law to operate or to be in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You are in violation of the law if you operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a degree which renders you incapable of safe driving. You are also in violation of the law if you operate a vehicle when your blood alcohol content (or BAC) is .08 percent or greater. If you are under the age of 21, you are in violation of the DUI Statute if your blood alcohol content is .02 or greater. There is also a separate offense under the Vehicle Code which prohibits people under the age of 21 from operating a vehicle at any time when there is any detectable alcohol in their system. The penalties for your first conviction vary depending upon the level of BAC. If convicted of DUI, you will lose your driver's license for one year.

You should also know that if you are stopped by a police officer and he has reasonable grounds to believe you are driving under the influence, the officer can request that you take a breathalyzer or blood test. If you are placed under arrest and refuse to take the test you will automatically lose your driver's license for one year. So, if you refuse a breathalyzer or blood test and are later convicted for DUI, you will lose your driver's license for a total of at least two years.

If this is your first arrest for DUI and you meet other criteria, you may be eligible for admission to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program. This is more commonly called the ARD Program. Your admission to the ARD Program will be subject to the approval of the District Attorney and the Court. As a condition of the Program, you will be required to attend safe driving classes. In addition you will be under the Court's supervision for up to two years. During this time you may not consume any alcohol. You also may lose your driver's license. The length of your suspension will depend on your BAC. If you successfully complete the ARD Program the D.U.I. charge will be dismissed and your arrest record will be erased. If, however, you violate any of the conditions of the ARD Program you can be removed from the Program and prosecuted, as if you never were on ARD. If you have questions specific to your case, you should consult a lawyer immediately.  9/11

If you need to consult with an attorney or would like more information on facing charges for driving under the influence / DUI , please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.