A DWI Conviction Carries Strict Penalties in New York

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most preventable, but biggest mistakes a person can make. Alcohol can severely impair one’s cognitive abilities, reflexes, vision, and more. According to the State of New York, the level of impairment that affects each person is different and depends on five conditions:

  • the amount of alcohol you drink;
  • the amount of food you eat before or while you drink alcohol;
  • the length of time you drink alcohol;
  • your body weight; and
  • your gender.


It is common for younger individuals to be charged with DWI because some believe that they are able to drive after drinking without putting either their life or others’ lives in danger. Unfortunately for them, they are usually wrong and can be charged with DWI. In New York, a BAC of 0.08 or higher is considered driving while intoxicated. For commercial drivers, a BAC of 0.04 or higher is considered driving while intoxicated.

For a first offense, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a minor crime that can be punishable by law for a maximum time of one year in county jail. In New York, the penalty for the first offense is a mandatory fine of $500-$1,000, a maximum jail sentence of one year, and a revocation of one’s license for at least six months.

A second or third offense of driving while intoxicated can result in harsher penalties. If one is convicted of a second DWI within 10 years, then the new charge becomes a felony. A felony is considered a very serious crime and is punishable by law for a jail term longer than one year in state prison. For a second offense of DWI in New York within 10 years, there is a mandatory fine of $1,000-$5,000, a maximum jail term of four years, and a mandatory revocation of one’s license for at least one year. As for the third offense within 10 years in New York, the punishments are even harsher. There is a mandatory fine of $2,000-$10,000, a maximum jail sentence of seven years, and a mandated revocation of one’s license for at least one year.

Aside from driving while intoxicated, there are other forms of alcohol-and-drug-related crimes. In New York, these violations include:

  • Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI);
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol);
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug);
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination);
  • Chemical Test Refusal; and
  • Zero Tolerance Law.

Each type of crime carries different punishments. New York’s DWI and related laws are complex and can carry serious consequences for your ability to drive and work. If you are charged with DWI or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced New York DUI/DWI lawyer. An attorney will be able to advise you of your legal rights, can work to restore your license in Nassau or Suffolk Counties, and will defend you in court.

If you are charged with DWAI/DWI it is important to contact a Long Island criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in handling these matters. Our attorneys will fight hard on your behalf. With offices conveniently located in Central Islip, New York. Contact McGuire, Peláez & Bennett, PC 24/7 at 631-348-1702.

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