- New York DWI Types
- DWI Penalties
- Zero Tolerance Penalties
- Chemical Test Refusal Penalties
- Additional Penalties
- Other Costs and Consequences
- Resources & Sources
DWI or Driving While Intoxicated laws in New York are governed by the Vehicle & Traffic laws, Title 7 – Rules of the Road, Article 31 – Alcohol and Drug-related Offenses. Driving under influence of alcohol or drugs has serious consequences, and we advise you to examine the law carefully and if in legal trouble, hire an experienced attorney.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of less than 0.05% is legal in New York. Exceptions to this include commercial vehicle drivers, and drivers younger than 21.
In New York you are considered Driving While Intoxicated if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is:
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is in most states referred to as DUI – Driving Under Influence. In New York these violations have serious and costly consequences, so take a look below for our basic overview of penalties and fines included.
DWAI stands for Driving While Ability Impaired. A 0.05% BAC is evidence of DWAI. DWI is Driving While Intoxicated, where your BAC is .08% or higher.
Ranking from least to most serious, below are DWI or DUI offenses you can be charged with in New York:
These are main potential alcohol and drug violations you can be charged with. Other related offenses you can be criminally charged with may include reckless driving, speeding, or refusing a breathalyzer test.
Driving while intoxicated or drugged in New York state has different penalties.
Listed below are exact minimum and maximum penalties as per New York traffic laws. These include mandatory fines driver license actions, and potential jail time. We’ll also take a look at other fines and surcharges and additional consequences.
Driving While Intoxicated means your blood alcohol concentration level is over .08% and under .18%.
DWAI-Alcohol sentences are handed when your BAC is over .05% and under .07%.
Third DWAI alcohol conviction within 10 years is considered a misdemeanor.
Second and third DWAI drugs conviction within 10 years is considered a class E felony and has increased fines and penalties.
Second DWAI combination conviction within 10 years is considered a class E felony with increased fines to $1000 – $5000.
Aggravated DVI or A-DWI (AGG DWI) charges are brought if your BAC is over 0.18.
Second and third Aggravated DWI laws violations within a 10-year period are considered Class E felonies and carry increased fines and penalties.
Drivers under the age of 21 may not drive with BAC of .02% or higher. In New York this is called the “Zero Tolerance Law”.
Refusing to take a breathalyzer test carries additional penalties.
Refusing a chemical test within 5 years of previous DWI charge or test refusal carries a $750 fine and license revocation for minimum 18 months.
Drivers under age 21 refusing chemical tests are liable for $750 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee, and have their drivers licenses revoked for at least one year.
Commercial drivers who refuse to take a chemical test must pay $750 and will have their CDL – commercial licenses suspended permanently.
All DWI offenses have additional costs. $250 minimum annual assessment fee is charged to convicted drivers, totaling to $750 in fines over 3 years.
Furthermore, drivers convicted of any DWI type may be required to enroll in New York Drinking Driver Program (DDP). It requires a $75 fee payable to New York DMV, and up to $225 in additional fees for the program.
Multiple alcohol or drug violations within 25 years can result in greater penalties as well. Additional surcharges are also added for alcohol related misdemeanors ($260) and felonies ($400).
Receiving three or more drunk driving convictions within 10 years can also result in permanent driver’s license revocation, with a minimum period of 5 years before you can reapply. Three drunk driving convictions plus another serious driving offense can lead to permanent driver license revocation without possibility of re-application, as can 5 or more alcohol or drug-related convictions in lifetime.
Killing or injuring another person while under the influence can lead to criminal charges such as negligent homicide, vehicular manslaughter or assault. These result in thousands of dollars in fines, and potential incarceration for up to 15 years.
Driving with a suspended or revoked driver license leads to a fine of $200 to $1000, and a mandatory jail sentence or probation. If intoxicated or otherwise impaired while driving with a suspended license the fine can increase up to $5,000, and your vehicle may be seized.
Furthermore DWI or AGG-DWI convicted drivers in NY are required to install Ignition Interlock devices. These devices are connected to your vehicle’s ignition and prevent it from starting if it detects a .025% blood alcohol concentration or higher. IID installation and removal typically costs over $100 each, which is covered by the person convicted. Additionally these devices have approximate $100 fee every month you are required to use them.
As per NY’s Leandra’s Law (named after a young girl killed while driven by her friend’s intoxicated mother) there may be additional penalties depending on circumstances. For example offenders driving while intoxicated with a child passenger under 16 years of age may be charged with a class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in state prison. Causing serious physical injury to a child under 16 while intoxicated is a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Drivers or passengers of motor vehicles on public highways, roads or streets are not permitted to drink alcohol while driving, or even possess an alcoholic beverage with the intent to drink it. This is considered a traffic infraction with a $150 fine upon conviction, additional mandatory surcharge, crime victim assistance fee, potential imprisonment for up to 15 days and two points on your driver license record.
New York takes its DWI laws extremely seriously. In case you are caught driving under influence you can expect harsh sentences, and it’s highly advisable to hire a competent attorney to plead your case.
New York DWI penalties can be severe and repeat offenders may be looking at serious time behind bars. Even a second DWI conviction can put you in jail for up to 4 years.
It may be possible to sometimes bring down your DWI charge to a so-called Wet-Reckless, or a reckless driving charge. Even reducing DWI charge to DWAI-Alcohol can significantly reduce your penalties. Again, consult a professional lawyer and seek legal advice to learn more.