What are the possible Penalties for a New York DUI conviction?

New York law takes driving under the influence very seriously. If you’re convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or the related charge of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), you are facing a wide range of penalties that include fines, jail time, license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. The following are the possible penalties for a DUI/DWI or DWAI conviction in New York, depending on whether it is a first or subsequent conviction.

Penalties for DWI in New York
Under New York law, a DWI is charged when a driver over the age of 21 has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. A DWI is a misdemeanor. A DWI conviction will remain on your criminal record for life. A first-time conviction comes with the following penalties:

  • Fine of $500 to $1,000 and/or up to 1 year in jail
  • Probation for 3 years
  • License revocation for at least 6 months
  • Discretionary revocation of your vehicle registration for at least 6 months
  • $250/year driver responsibility assessment for 3 years
  • Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months

You may be eligible for a conditional driver’s license after a first-time conviction.

With a second DWI within 10 years, the license revocation will last for at least 1 year (or at least 18 months if your prior conviction was an Aggravated DWI), you will need evidence of alcohol rehab and/or evaluation to get a new license, your registration can be revoked for at least 1 year, and you will need to pay a $395 surcharge.

An Additional mandatory penalty for a misdemeanor DWI after a prior misdemeanor DWI conviction within 5 years is 5 days in jail or 30 days of community service.

Penalties for Aggravated DWI
Aggravated DWI is charged when someone has a BAC of 0.18% or higher. Aggravated DWI is a misdemeanor. The penalties for aggravated DWI are more severe than DWI. For a first time offense, the penalties include:

  • Fine of $1,000 to $2,500
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Probation for 3 years
  • License revoked for at least 1 year
  • Revocation of your registration for at least 1 year
  • $395 surcharge
  • $250/year driver responsibility assessment for 3 years
  • Attendance at a Victim Impact Panel
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months

For a second offense within 10 years, the charge is an E felony. The fine is up to $5,000 and it carries a penalty of up to 4 years in prison and license revocation for at least 18 months.

For a third offense within 10 years, the charge is a D felony. The fine is up to $10,000 and it carries a penalty of up to 7 years in prison and license revocation for at least 18 months.

Under New York law, someone who drives while intoxicated with a child under the age of 16 in the car will be charged with a class E felony with a penalty of up to 4 years in prison.

Penalties for DWAI in New York
A DWAI is very similar to a DWI but it’s charged when someone is driving with a BAC of of 0.05% and 0.07% or law enforcement has other evidence the driver was impaired. DWAI is a traffic infraction, not a crime, but DWAI Drugs and DWAI Combined Influence are crimes.

It’s very common for someone who has been charge with DWI for the first time who is represented by a criminal defense lawyer to receive a plea bargain to reduce the charge to DWAI, although this is no guarantee.

A first-time DWAI conviction carries the following potential penalties:

  • Fine of $300 to $500 and/or up to 15 days in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension for 90 days (except CDL holders and drivers under 21)
  • Surcharge of $255
  • $250/year driver responsibility assessment for 3 years
  • Must attend Victim Impact Panel

A second DWAI offense carries a fine of up to $750 and/or up to 30 days in jail, license revocation for up to 6 months, proof of alcohol rehab and/or evaluation to get your license back, discretionary revocation of your vehicle registration for at least 6 months, $255 surcharge, $250/year driver responsibility assessment for 3 years, and Victim Impact Panel. With a second DWAI offense, you are not eligible to receive a conditional license.

With a 3rd or subsequent offense, you can face up to 180 days in jail, revocation of your license for a minimum of 18 months, proof of alcohol rehabilitation to receive a new license, a $395 surcharge, the driver responsibility assessment, Victim Impact Panel attendance, and the installation of an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months.

If you have been charged with a DUI in New York, it’s important to contact an experienced DWI defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and build your defense.