What Does The Term Driving While Intoxicated Per Se Mean In Buffalo, NY?

Older, more experienced Buffalo DWI lawyers will remember a time when the use of Latin terms in law was much more prevalent that it is today.

New York State has two drinking and driving offenses that use the Latin term “per se” in their official title:Driving While Intoxicated per se and Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated per se.

“Per se” generally is translated as meaning “in itself,” “by itself” or “inherently.”

The two drinking and driving offenses that use this term in their title both prohibit a driver from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content above a certain level.

Proof that the driver’s blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit while operating a motor vehicle is all that is required to establish that the driver committed the offense.

In other words, the result of a breath or blood test is “in itself” sufficient to establish that the driver committed a “per se” drinking and driving offense.

There is no requirement that the prosecution prove that the consumption of alcohol had any impact at all on the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle or otherwise appeared intoxicated.

All that matters is the level of alcohol found in the driver’s blood.

Driving While Intoxicated per se is commonly referred to Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% or Greater, and is often written up in this manner on the ticket initially issued to a defendant following a DWI arrest.

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated per se requires a blood alcohol content of .18% or greater to be charged, and is often simply referred to as ADWI.

Anyone arrested for DWI should understand the charges against them.

If you have been arrested and have any questions, please feel free to call us at 585-484-7432.

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