NYC DWAI – Second Offense Lawyers

The acronyms DWI and DUI are familiar to most people, but those same individuals may be hard-pressed to figure out what DWAI stands for, or what the difference is between each of the terms. In truth, it stands for Driving While Ability Impaired, and is based on a small range with regard to blood alcohol content (BAC).

That BAC range is generally greater than .05 and less than .08, which is the legal definition of drunk driving. In the case of those arrested for DWAI due to drugs, a determination is made


Individuals who are charged in DWAI cases should be aware that a first-time arrest for this is only considered to be a traffic violation, whereas a full-fledged DUI or DWI is a criminal misdemeanor.

The reason DWAI may not be as widely known as the others involved is the fact that only two states: New York and Colorado, have this select branch of the DWI/DUI tree.

The cause of the DWAI could play a role in any subsequent sentence, due to the differences between alcohol and drugs, or any combination of the two. The usual sentence will often mirror that of a DUI—the effect on a person’s driving record is where this can possibly be a benefit.

A Second DWAI in New York

However, when a person is arrested for a second DWAI within five years of the previous date of conviction, the penalties become harsher, with the fines and potential jail time effectively doubling.

For example, in New York, the fine is from between $500-$700 and up to 30 days in jail, or both. That’s followed a license suspension that’s at least six months. In addition, the individual has to undergo alcohol evaluation, and/or rehabilitation. An official note citing completion of it then has to be presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

During this time, the individual won’t be eligible for a conditional license, which would allow them to use their vehicle to get to work, school or deal with specific errands.

It’s possible in some cases that if the prosecutor or presiding judge feels that this subsequent arrest was especially egregious, they can revoke the license registration for six months or longer.

Additional Restrictions

Other restrictions and costs include a surcharge as well as assessment of driver responsibility. In the latter case, that must take place once a year for three straight years, and will cost $250 each time.

The final requirement is meant to show the emotional impact of the effects of alcohol-based offenses. Here, the individual must attend a Victim Impact Panel, where people whose family members or friends have died in these type of accidents, speak to them.

Invaluable Legal Help

This issue is serious enough that having proper legal representation is imperative to making sure that the situation is approached in the proper manner. Without it, the chances for more severe sentences exist.