The Definitive Guide to New York DWI Law
When you have been arrested for driving while being intoxicated, you could be facing serious penalties. The Definitive Guide to New York DWI Law was created by Attorney Arthur Pressman to help people arrested for drunk driving understand what they need to do if they find themselves in this situation
DWI CasesA DWI can be traumatic, embarrassing and result in serious consequences. In New York, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense and, if you are convicted, can result in a criminal record, suspension of your license, fines and often jail time or probation.
What to do if you are charged with a DWI
If you are charged with a DWI, you are probably wondering:
What are my rights?
Will I lose my license?
Do I need to hire a DWI attorney?
What constitutes impairment?
If the police in New York believe that your driving ability is impaired, and you are found to be under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs or alcohol, you may be charged with driving while impaired by drugs. It is imperative to have a dedicated DWI Attorney in your corner. These are serious charges that carry serious DWI penalties, In the state of New York, the following blood alcohol contents (BACs) result in a DWI:
02 for ages under 21
08 for ages 21 and older
04 for commercial drivers
Challenging a DWI in New York can be difficult and requires an experienced Buffalo DWI Attorney to prove that an error occurred during your arrest or alcohol testing. Your DWI case is thoroughly examined to ensure that your constitutional rights have not been violated.
Possible types of challenges include the following:
The validity of the stop: A possible error that can be made is when the police officer is lacking probable cause for making the stop.
The qualifications of the person conducting the test: The person conducting the test or operating the machine must be certified or qualified in accordance with the law of the state. The testing can be ruled invalid if any discrepancy is discovered.
The accuracy of the evidence presented: Conducting a thorough investigation of the arrest report and data gathered, including breath tests and blood work. It is easy for labs to make errors that affect data.
Understanding DWI Penalties In New YorkA DWI conviction can result in immediate and serious consequences. Drunk driving penalties in New York are severe and can have a cascading effect on your driving privileges, employment, and assets.
Know what charges you are up against
Knowing the situations in which you can be charged with a DWI/DUI is important. New York prosecutes those who commit the following crimes:
Driving while intoxicated: You may be convicted of a DWI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, and you demonstrate other evidence of intoxication.
Driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI-Alcohol): In New York, you may be convicted of a DWAI-Alcohol if you have a BAC of between 0.05% and 0.07% or if you show other evidence that you are impaired.
Driving while ability impaired by a drug other than alcohol (DWAI-Drug): This charge can result if you are found to be impaired by chemical substances other than alcohol.
Refusal to take a chemical test: When you refuse to take alcohol testing by blood or urine, or by a host of other means, at the very least, your license may be revoked and you'll have to pay a $500 civil penalty.
Zero tolerance law: If you are a New York driver under the age of 21, you are charged with a DWI if you are found to have any traces of alcohol in your system while driving.
Multiple DWI convictions: Prior DWIs can lead to harsher penalties if you are convicted. Even a single prior offense can quadruple jail time and double fines.
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Consequences to your driving privileges
If you are convicted in the state of New York for a DWI, DUI or DWAI, or for refusing to submit to testing, you may be subject to the following penalties:
Suspension or revocation of your driving privileges
Revocation of your drivers license (minimum one year) for refusal to take a chemical BAC test
Fines of up to $2,500 for a first offense
Fees and surcharges for a conditional license or new license application
Fees for any treatment/educational classes
Denying yourself the proper representation may have devastating consequences for your future, especially for multiple violations. Having a tenacious DWI Lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
Minimizing the Consequences of an Underage DWI
New York has a zero-tolerance law for motorists under the age of 21 who drink and drive. While the threshold for blood alcohol content in a standard DWI is 0.08 percent, a driver under the age of 21 can be cited for as little as 0.02 percent BAC. That means that young drivers who might not even be impaired can face criminal charges and administrative penalties.
Penalties for underage DWI in New York
Penalties for an underage DWI depend on the driver's BAC:
At least 0.02 but not more than 0.07 percent -- This may lead to a charge of "driving after having consumed alcohol," a civil offense heard before an administrative judge of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Punishment is six-month license suspension and a $125 fine. If there is a prior conviction, the driver's license is revoked for one year or until the driver reaches 21 years of age, whichever is longer.
More than 0.05 but less than 0.08 percent -- Police have the option to charge "
Understanding DWI Penalties In New York (Continued)driving while ability is impaired by alcohol" (DWAI), a traffic infraction heard in criminal court. A first-time conviction is punishable by up to 15 days in jail, a maximum $500 fine and a one-year license revocation.
Between 0.07 and 0.08 percent -- Police will charge DWAI.
Equal to or greater than 0.08 percent -- This is driving while intoxicated (DWI) per se. A first offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, a maximum $1,000 fine and a revocation of your license for one year.
Moreover, since it is illegal for underage persons to consume alcohol, the arrest opens the door to additional charges based on the officer's observations, such as possession of false identification, distributing alcohol to minors, and minor in possession of alcohol.
If you or your child has been arrested for a zero-tolerance DWI, there are ways that an experienced attorney can manage the case to mitigate the consequences. In rare cases, a police officer may have lacked reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop, so any evidence gathered is tainted and the charges go away. Authorities also make procedural errors occasionally that compromise forensic evidence, rendering it unreliable or inadmissible.
While such cases are as rare, there are additional pragmatic steps an experienced attorney can take to provide substantial assistance. As cited above, the authorities have discretion as to what offense they charge, and the court has broad discretion as to time served and fines imposed. A skilled attorney can often negotiate an appropriate reduction in charges and penalties. As for license suspensions, your attorney can make an effective argument for a restricted license that will allow a youth to commute to school and/or work.
More Information You Should Know About DWI Cases:What Should I Do if I Was Arrested for a First Time DWI?
A first-time offender in New York State who's convicted of driving while intoxicated will have a criminal conviction. This will appear on your record both for your DMV and a criminal history the rest of your life. It is not sealed. It is not expunged. It will never go away. The first-time penalty for driving while intoxicated in New York State, is a six-month revocation of your license, a $500 minimum fine, and a $400 mandatory state surcharge. You will also have to install in your vehicle an interlock ignition device at your expense for at least six months. There is an installation cost and a monthly cost of having the interlock ignition device in your vehicle. You will also have to attend a victim impact panel. That is one class where you will meet people who have relatives or they themselves were victims of potential DWIs or accidents of someone who was DWI. To get a restricted or conditional license during the period of your revocation, you'll have to attend an Impaired Driver Program. This is a program that is offered to give you a restricted license during the period of your revocation. The courts may, on their own discretion, impose other conditions. Sometimes it's community service, sometimes it's counseling, but there are a wide variety of options open to them.
How Long Does a DWI Case Take?
There is no set answer. Each case is unique and based on the facts of your arrest. It can typically take anywhere between two to four months to resolve a DWI case. However, if you have a complicated case and a complicated set of facts it could take longer, sometimes up to one year.
What is a DWAI?
During a DWI investigation, you may be charged with driving while your ability is impaired by alcohol. This means that your blood test reading was a 0.06 or 0.07, lower than the threshold for driving while intoxicated. This is a noncriminal traffic infraction. If you are convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol, you will not get a criminal record. However, your license may be suspended, and the court may impose mandatory surcharges and fines.
What Happens If I Get Arrested for a Second or Third Time DWI Offense?
If you are charged with a DWI in New York State, and you have a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated in the last 10 years, you will be charged with a felony. Ten years is the cut-off point in determining whether the case will remain a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you have a prior driving while impaired conviction within five years, penalties are increased. If you have three driving while impaired convictions within 10 years, what is normally a non-criminal infraction is elevated to a misdemeanor conviction. Remember, two driving while intoxicated convictions in 10 years is a felony. Three driving while impaired convictions in 10 years is a misdemeanor.
What is an Aggravated DWI?
If you are charged with an aggravated DWI in New York State, this means that you registered a .18 or higher when given a breathalyzer or blood test. The penalties and sanctions are more severe with an aggravated DWI. In New York State, for a first-time offender, your license will be revoked 1 year