New York's Handling Of DWI Charges

New York’s DWI penalties can be very serious and should be understood by anyone arrested for drunk driving.

New York is known for having strict laws concerning impaired driving. One example of this is the imposition of felony charges for a second offense, if that offense happens within 10 years of a prior one. Mothers Against Drunk Driving information shows that this typically only happens after three or even four offenses in other states in the country.

Whether a misdemeanor or a felony, a DWI arrest can be a troublesome experience, especially if a conviction ultimately happens.

How New York Determines Intoxication

When trying to navigate the DWI process in New York, it is first important to understand how the state determines intoxication in drivers. Tests used to measure the amount of alcohol in a driver's system are relied upon. The result is referred to as the blood alcohol content or BAC for short.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website shows that a person with a BAC level of .08 percent or higher is able to be identified as intoxicated. There are two types of charges that can result depending upon how high the BAC level is. If a driver's BAC is at least .08 percent, but not greater than .17 percent, the charge will typically be for driving while intoxicated, or DWI. Anyone found to have a BAC level over .17 percent can be charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated or aggravated DWI.

It is also important to note that if a driver under the age of 21 is found to have a BAC of even .02 percent, that person is in violation of New York's zero tolerance law.

The Consequences Of DWI Charges

The amount of alcohol in a driver's bloodstream largely impacts the type of charges faced. Similarly, it is the existence or number of previous DWI convictions that can directly impact the ultimate consequences they could face if convicted again.

DMV data shows a tiered approach to DWI penalties for first, second and third convictions as follows:

  • People convicted of first-time DWI may spend up to 12 months in jail, lose driving privileges for six months and pay up to $2,500 in fines. If the charge is for aggravated DWI, driving privileges can be lost for 12 months.
  • People convicted of a second DWI may spend up to 48 months in jail, lose driving privileges for 12 months and pay up to $5,000 in fines. If the charge is for aggravated DWI, driving privileges can be lost for 18 months. These charges are handled as Class E felonies.
  • People convicted of a third DWI may spend up to 84 months in jail, lose driving privileges for 12 months and pay up to $10,000 in fines. If the charge is for aggravated DWI, driving privileges can be lost for 18 months. These charges are handled as Class D felonies.

The use of an ignition interlock device can also be ordered once a person's driving privileges are reinstated. The length of time that an IID must be used will vary in each circumstance.

Recommendations For drivers

If a driver is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, getting help immediately is important. Contact a lawyer to discuss the best defense options available and remember that an arrest does not guarantee a conviction.

Please contact my office for a free consultation at 718-414-6186.

Keywords: DWI, drunk driving, arrest, penalties