On a weekend night going out with friends, you decide to risk the difficulty of parking and drive your car. You don’t plan on drinking very much. After a couple of beers, you decide to head home. As you drive, you suddenly notice flashing lights behind you. While you may not feel intoxicated, the police officer arrests you on suspicion of a DWI.

In New York City, you can face DWI charges even if you don’t drink much alcohol. And penalties can affect more than just your night out. Here are a few ways New York punishes a DWI:

  • Fines – A first DWI can cost you between $500 to $1,000. If you receive multiple convictions in 10 years, you can see fines as high as $10,000. And you must also pay the court a surcharge of $260 for an alcohol-related offense.
  • Jail time – The court has the option to give you up to a year in jail for a first-time offense, and up to seven years for multiple DWIs.
  • License revocation – The court will take away your license for at least six months for your first DWI, and at least a year for multiple ones.

Not only will you face the punishments of the court, but you will now have a criminal record for a DWI. If an employer does a background check, they will see the arrest and conviction. They may choose to deny you employment because of your record. And if you get more than one DWI in 10 years, the additional convictions will be felonies.

You can face stiff punishments for only a couple drinks

If you didn’t feel intoxicated when police arrested you, you might not understand why you face charges. But even if you felt okay to drive, a court can still impose these punishments on you.

If you plan on drinking, the best option is to have an alternative ride. But if police do arrest you, you may want to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.