A conviction in New York for driving while intoxicated can dramatically change your life. Do not take a DWI accusation lightly, but don’t just plead guilty and pay the fine either. That might seem like the fastest and easiest way to deal with the matter and move ahead with your life – but it’s not. If you’re charged with DWI in Queens, fight the charge with the help of an experienced Queens DWI defense lawyer. Pleading guilty is not the “fast and easy” way to deal with a DWI charge. If you do plead guilty, you’ll also learn that “moving ahead” isn’t that easy after a DWI conviction.

If you plead guilty to a first-offense DWI in Queens or in New York City, the punishment can include a fine from $500 to $1,000, up to a year in jail, and a six-month driver’s license suspension. If it’s a second offense, you could serve up to four years in prison, pay a $1,000-to-$5,000 fine, and lose your license for a year. After a second conviction, you’ll also be ordered by the court to have an interlock ignition device installed in your vehicle, and you’ll pay for its installation and maintenance.

In order to avoid being charged and convicted of a DUI, it’s important that drivers know about other factors that can cause you to become under the influence. One of those factors is pure vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in a solution of ethyl alcohol and water. In the U.S., for a vanilla extract to be called pure, the Food and Drug Administration requires the solution to contain a minimum of 35 percent alcohol. Carolyn Kesel, 46, of Seneca Falls was charged with felony DWI and felony aggravated DWI after allegedly drinking two small bottles of pure vanilla extract and then becoming lost in a Walmart parking lot. Police said her blood alcohol content level was more than three times the legal limit.

According to authorities, Ms. Kesel was discovered driving erratically at the Walmart, and she told the police that she could not find her way out of the parking lot. The vanilla extract she allegedly consumed had an alcohol content of 41 percent. A breathalyzer measured Ms. Kesel’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level at 0.26 percent, more than triple the legal limit, resulting in the felony charges. If Ms. Kesel had known about the dangerous effects of this extract, perhaps this could have been avoided.

If you’re accused of driving under the influence anywhere in the Queens area, you should know that working with a good criminal defense attorney is the best way to handle the charge. The right lawyer will safeguard your legal rights, explain the law and the options it gives you, and lead you through the legal process to the best possible conclusion of your DWI case. If you’re charged with DWI now or in the future, take the first step toward justice and contact an experienced Queens DWI lawyer immediately.