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What is the Difference Between a DWI and a DWAI in New York?

Posted by attorney Theodore Robinson

In New York a DWI is an unclassified Misdemeanor, which means its handled as a class "A" Misdemeanor. As a result, it carries a maximum sentence of up to one year in jail, three years on probation or a $1000.00 fine, together with state imposed surcharges and a crime victim's fee. If you are charged with having more than .08% alcohol in your blood, the state charges you with the Misdemeanor charge. However, if you have between a .05% and .07% blood alcohol reading, it only constitutes Driving While Ability is Impaired which is a violation and not a crime. A violation is punishable by up to 15 days in jail, a $250 fine and a Conditional Discharge for one year, which is like being on Probation without having to report to a Probation Officer. It is also not a criminal offense so you don't have to answer yes when asked if you've been convicted of a crime when seeking employement.

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