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New York DWI Penalties 

Manhattan  DWI DWAI Penalties Defense Attorney

DWI Sanctions and Sentencing Explained by Manhattan Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Aggravated DWI in New York, the possible penalties include a fine, jail time, probation, community service, suspension or revocation of your driver's license, and required installation of a "blow to drive" breath-alcohol ignition interlock device in your car. You may also be required to participate in alcohol/drug education or treatment programs.

Beyond the penalties imposed by state law, there are other expensive consequences of a DWI conviction. Your insurance premiums will rise substantially, you will have a criminal record that will show up on all background checks (except for DWAI/Alcohol which is not classified as a crime), and you could lose your job if it involves driving or other types of work where your DWI conviction could affect your employer's liability coverage.

At Watford Jackson, PLLC, we will do everything in our power to minimize the effect of a DWI charge on the rest of your life. We will fight aggressively to get DWI charges dismissed or reduced and to minimize any sanctions imposed. Attorneys Joey Jackson and Gregory J. Watford have successfully defended clients in the New York criminal courts for over 45 combined years.

New York Law on DWI/BWI Sentences

For any DWI/DWAI offense covered under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1192, judges are prohibited from imposing a sentence of unconditional discharge. Judges may impose a sentence of conditional discharge or probation only in combination with the fine specified for the offense.

Under New York law, a motorboat is a motor vehicle, so operating a motorboat while intoxicated or impaired (BWI) carries the same penalties as if you were driving a car.

The following penalties apply to all offenses of DWI, DWAI/Drug, DWAI/Combination, and Aggravated DWI (excluding DWAI/Alcohol, covered in a separate section below):

  • A term of probation or conditional discharge, which will require use of an ignition interlock (blow to drive) device for a minimum of six months and may also require attendance of one session of a victims impact program.
  • Evaluation of drug/alcohol use, based on which the court may order treatment.
  • For CDL holders who commit a DWI-related offense while driving a commercial vehicle, see the CDL DWI page for further details.

The following penalties also apply, varying based on the severity of the offense:

First Conviction DWI (Not Aggravated): Misdemeanor. Fine of $500 to $1,000, or jail for up to one year, or both. Revocation of driver's license for 6 months.

First Conviction Aggravated DWI with BAC over .18 (no child in vehicle): Misdemeanor. Fine of $1,000 to $2,500, or jail for up to one year, or both. Driver's license revocation for 1 year.

First Conviction Aggravated with Child Passenger (Leandra's Law): Class E Felony. Fine of $1,000 to $5,000, or up to 4 years in prison, or both. Driver's license revocation for 1 year. If the driver is the parent or legal guardian of a child passenger, they will be reported to state child abuse authorities. If a child passenger sustains serious physical injury, the driver can be charged with a Class C felony (up to 15 years in prison). If a child passenger is killed, the driver can be charged with a Class B felony (up to 25 years in prison).

Second Conviction within 10 Years: Class E Felony. Fine of $1,000 to $5,000, up to four years in prison, or both. Revocation of driver's license for 1 year (18 months if the prior conviction was for Aggravated DWI). If the second conviction occurs within five years, the sentence must also include 5 days in jail or 30 days of community service. 

Third or Subsequent Conviction Within 10 Years: Class D Felony. Fine of $2,000 to $10,000, up to seven years in prison, or both. Additional penalty for a third or subsequent conviction within five years includes 10 days in jail or 60 days of community service.

Fourth or Subsequent Conviction Within 15 Years: Class D Felony. Fine of $2,000 to $10,000, up to seven years in prison, or both. (This is known as Vince's Law and was enacted in 2014).

Penalties for Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol) 

The prosecutor or court may, at their discretion, reduce a misdemeanor DWI to a DWAI/Alcohol traffic infraction. This is a common plea bargain to keep a criminal misdemeanor charge off a driver's record.

DWAI/Alcohol is only a traffic infraction for the first and second offenses. A first conviction is punishable by a fine of $300 to $500, or up to 15 days in jail, or both; plus driver's license suspension for 90 days.

The penalty for a second conviction within five years is a fine of $500 to $750, up to 30 days in jail, or both; plus driver's license revocation for six months. The first conviction can be for any DWI-related offense, not just DWAI/Alcohol.

A third conviction within ten years is a misdemeanor crime, with a penalty of $750 to $1,500, up to 180 days in jail, or both; plus driver's license revocation for six months.

Penalties for Drinking and Driving Under Age 21

Operating a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol under age 21 (BAC of at least .02 but not more than .07): As long as the person is not charged with any other DWAI or DWI offense, the penalty is driver's license suspension for six months plus a fine of $125.

Penalties for Refusal of Chemical Testing

For a first-time refusal of chemical testing, the penalty is a $500 fine plus driver's license revocation for a minimum of one year. If the driver has had a revocation in the past five years stemming from either a DWI-related offense or chemical test refusal, the penalty rises to $750 fine plus revocation for 18 months. See CDL DWI page for penalties specific to operators of commercial vehicles.

Minimize DWI Penalties in New York City

Being arrested for DWI and finding yourself enmeshed in the New York criminal justice system can leave you frightened and overwhelmed. The attorneys at Watford Jackson, PLLC, have the skill and experience you need to prevent a DWI charge from becoming a conviction with life-changing consequences. Contact our Manhattan office at 855-WAT-JACK or 855-928-5225 to discuss your case with one of our distinguished DWI defense attorneys. We handle DWI court cases in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Nassau County, Rockland County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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101 Avenue of the Americas, 9th Floor
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