Penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can range from loss of driving privileges to fines, probation and prison terms.
You may be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is measured at .08 or higher. Drivers of commercial vehicles may be charged with DWI with a BAC of .04. A BAC of .18 or higher is considered aggravated DWI. Driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI/ alcohol) is a violation, not a crime, and requires a BAC of .05 to .07. Drivers under age 21 of commercial vehicles face more stringent standards of BAC .02. DWAI/Drugs involves driving while ability impaired by a drug other than alcohol, whereas a DWAI/combination may arise if you are stopped for driving under the combined influence of drugs or alcohol.
DWI penalties in New York are quite harsh. Conviction for DWAI by alcohol can mean $300 to $500 in mandatory fines, maximum fifteen days in jail and license suspension for ninety days. A second DWAI offense within five years carries a mandatory fine between $500 and $750, maximum jail time doubled to thirty days and revocation of your license for at least six months. The penalties for a DWI conviction are a mandatory fine of $500 to $1,000, six-month license revocation and up to one year in jail. A conviction for a DWAI combination mandates a fine of between $500 to $1,000, jail for up to one year and license revocation for up to six months.
A second DWI or DWAI offense within ten years means penalties go up to $1,000 to $5,000, four years maximum jail term, and license revocation for one year for DWI and up to 18 months for DWAI. For a third offense in ten years, the fine increases to $2,000 to $10,000, license revocation for one year and up to seven years in jail.
An Aggravated DWI edges penalties up even higher — a $1,000 to $2,500 fine, one-year maximum jail term and one-year license revocation for a first offense. A second offense within ten years is a Class E felony and carries a mandatory fine between $1,000 and $5,000, up to four years in jail and an eighteen-month license revocation. For a third offense within ten years, the offense is categorized as a Class D felony with a fine of between $2,000 to $10,000, incarceration for up to seven years and license revocation of at least eighteen months. Multiple DWI and DWAI violations within ten years can mean even stiffer penalties, which can include permanent license revocation.
Some people think that since they are facing a first DWI offense, they do not need legal representation. However, it is important to understand that once you are in the system as a convicted offender, your life will never be the same. It is crucial to take your case to an experienced New York City criminal defense attorney and stand up for your rights.