INSIGHTS

Home > Insights > DWI > What Are the Penalties for a DWI in New York?

What Are the Penalties for a DWI in New York?

by | Jul 5, 2022

Getting behind the wheel if you’ve had too much to drink can have devastating consequences on your life and livelihood. Not only can a DWI conviction have an impact on your reputation in the community, but the long-term effects and legal ramifications can be severe. Critically, the penalties for a DWI conviction in New York can vary based on how many prior DWIs are on your record and whether there are any aggravating factors in your case.  

What is a DWI?

A DWI is the most serious traffic violation in New York State. While these offenses are usually charged as misdemeanor crimes, a DWI can also rise to the level of a felony if certain circumstances are met. Specifically, a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level determines whether they are legally intoxicated.

The legal BAC limit in New York is .08% for drivers over 21 — anyone who operates a motor vehicle with a BAC at this level or higher faces a “per se” DWI charge. Under New York’s Zero Tolerance Law, the legal limit is .02% for drivers under age 21. In addition, there is a .04% BAC limit for commercial drivers.  

If a driver’s BAC is .18% or more, they can face an aggravated driving while intoxicated offense, which can be charged as a felony. However, it’s important to understand that a DWI charge is not the same as a conviction. A prosecutor has the burden of proving you were legally intoxicated while driving, and they usually rely on breathalyzer or chemical test results that can be challenged. With an experienced DWI defense lawyer by your side to fight the charges you’re facing, you will typically stand a better chance of obtaining a more favorable outcome in your case.   

Penalties for a DWI

The facts and circumstances surrounding every DWI case are unique. Significantly, the penalties for a DWI can depend upon your previous DWI history and whether you inflicted bodily harm on another due to driving under the influence. The legal penalties a driver over 21 might face for a DWI conviction are as follows:

  • First DWI — While no minimum jail time is required for a first DWI, a maximum sentence of one year in jail is possible. Mandatory fines can range from $500 to $1,000, and you may also be required to pay for, install, and maintain an interlock ignition device in your vehicle. A minimum six-month driver’s license suspension may also be imposed.    
  • Second DWI — If you are convicted of a second DWI offense within ten years of your first conviction, you can face one to four years jail time. A minimum sentence of five days jail time is imposed if the second conviction is within five years of the first. In some cases, 30 days of community service may be completed as an alternative to the minimum jail time. Additionally, those convicted of a second DWI can incur $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, have their licenses revoked for one year, and be required to install an interlock ignition device.  
  • Third DWI — A third DWI conviction can carry a sentence of one to seven years in jail, a fine ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, and permanent license revocation if the third offense was within four years. A minimum of ten days in jail is required if the third DWI conviction was within five years. In these cases, 60 days of community service may be completed instead of serving the minimum jail time.

Harsher punishments may be imposed for drivers convicted of aggravated DWI offenses. For instance, if you were driving with a BAC of .18% or higher, the penalties can increase. However, before your DWI case is even brought before a judge, administrative penalties can be imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles if you refuse to submit to a breath or chemical test. These penalties can vary depending upon how many prior offenses you’ve had — they typically include license revocation and monetary fines.

Contact an Experienced DWI Defense Lawyer in NYC

A DWI charge is a serious matter. It’s vital to have the representation of a skilled DWI defense lawyer who can fight for positive results on your behalf. The attorneys at D’Emilia Law offer high-quality legal services to those charged with DWIs and driving under the influence in New York — and strive to ensure their rights are protected. To schedule a consultation, contact us at 1-888-DEMILIA.  

Penalties for a DWI in New York
Aggravated DWI

What is an Aggravated DWI in New York?

A DWI of any kind is a serious matter that can result in harsh penalties, including monetary fines, a jail sentence, and license revocation. However, every DWI case is different — and the consequences can be even more severe if you have been convicted of an aggravated...
DWI

Penalties for Multiple DWI Offenses

A DWI is a serious matter — and the repercussions for multiple offenses can be much more severe. While a first-time DWI conviction is generally classified as a misdemeanor in New York State, a second offense within ten years constitutes a felony. If you’ve been...
DWI Arrest

Common Mistakes to Avoid During a DWI Arrest

Being pulled over for drinking and driving can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. A DWI can not only result in monetary fines and jail time, but it can also lead to personal, professional, and financial ramifications. Critically, any mistakes you make during...
Chemical Test

What are the Consequences of Refusing a Chemical Test?

Under New York’s Implied Consent law, all drivers agree to submit to a chemical test if they are pulled over on reasonable suspicion of drunk driving. These tests are used by law enforcement to determine the level of alcohol in the blood. While the most common...
DWI Attorney

Do You Need an Attorney for a DWI Charge?

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence in New York, you may be wondering whether you should have the representation of an attorney. Critically, being charged with driving under the influence in New York can have a long-lasting impact on your life and...
DWI Felony

When is a DWI a Felony in New York?

A DWI can come with serious consequences, especially if you’re facing felony charges. While a first DWI is typically charged as a misdemeanor, there are certain situations in which an offense of driving under the influence can be a felony. For instance, if there are...
DWI

Types of DWI Offenses in New York State 

Being charged with the offense of driving while intoxicated can be stressful and overwhelming. However, it’s important to understand that the consequences you may face can depend upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the DWI — and the specific offense with...
New York DWI Cases

Can the Necessity Defense Be Used in DWI Cases in New York?

Driving under the influence is a very serious offense in New York that requires a skillful and strategic defense. Critically, one of the defenses that may be available to those who have been charged with the offense of driving under the influence is the “necessity...
Marijuana DWAI

3 Important Things to Know About Marijuana DWAIs in New York

Many people are familiar with New York’s strict laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol. However, it’s critical to be aware that the state also imposes harsh penalties on those who have been found guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana —...
DWI Mistakes

Common Mistakes to Avoid Making in Your DWI Case

A DWI is a serious matter in New York. While these situations can be stressful and overwhelming, many people are not sure what they should do or how they should proceed. Critically, there are certain mistakes that are commonly made which could impact your case and...