Drunk driving penalties in New York

Knowing the laws in New York that govern driving while intoxicated is important for any person who may face a DWI or related offense.

During the holiday season, much press is given to concerns about drinking and driving in New York. Holiday time, however, is not the only time that drivers should be aware of the risks associated with an arrest for charges related to driving while intoxicated, as these laws provide significant penalties and are vigorously enforced throughout the year.

As noted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, New York is one of only five states in the country that imposes felony charges for a second driving while intoxicated offense within a span of 10 years. Most other states only impose felony charges after three or more offenses.

What is intoxicated in New York?

In addition to "common law" definitions of what constitutes intoxication and impairment, the delineation of intoxication includes multiple levels based upon the blood alcohol content of the driver at the time of operation. For people with a BAC from 0.08 percent to 0.17 percent or with other evidence of intoxication, charges can be levied for driving while intoxicated. A person with a BAC of 0.18 percent or higher can be charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated. A person under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content between 0.02 and 0.07 percent can be deemed to have violated the state's zero tolerance law, resulting in the imposition of civil penalties and license suspension or revocation.

What are the penalties for a DWI conviction in New York?

The penalties for a conviction of a drunk driving offense in New York are based largely upon the number of prior convictions on drivers' records. According to the DMV, basic penalties can include the following:

  • First offenses of DWI or Aggravated DWI can result in fines up to $1000 for DWI and $2,500 for Aggravated DWI, jail time up to one year and license revocation of at least six months or one year respectively.
  • Second offenses within 10 years of a conviction for DWI or Aggravated DWI are felonies which can result in fines up to $5,000, state prison time up to four years and license revocation of at least 12 months, and at least 18 months where the current or prior offense was Aggravated DWI.
  • Third convictions of DWI or Aggravated DWI within 10 years are felonies which can result in fines up to $10,000, state prison time up to seven years and license revocation of at least 12 months, or at least 18 months where the current or a prior offense was Aggravated DWI. In addition, DMV has enacted rules prohibiting relicensing for periods beyond the minimum revocation period for such convictions.

Second convictions are Class E felonies and third convictions are Class D felonies in New York.

Defendants' options

Persons facing DWI charges in New York should always seek help from a defense attorney experienced at all stages of representing clients charged with drunk driving and drugged driving offenses, including at pretrial hearings and trials. Every driver deserves the best defense and help possible.

Keywords: DWI, drunk driving, arrest, defense