New York DWI Penalties

An arrest for drunk driving can result in loss of your license. A conviction can lead to much more, especially if this is your second or third DWI.

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated, you need the type of aggressive representation that New York City DWI lawyer Seth Ian Katz provides at Katz Lawyers. With more than a decade of experience handling DWI and traffic charges throughout New York state, he has a clear understanding of New York's DWI laws and penalties, and the defenses available to you.

We have full-service office locations in Manhattan and Staten Island, and we represent clients in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens and all 63 New York counties. Contact us today at 212-747-0606 to put us to work for you. Call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Same-day arraignments possible.

Our knowledge and capabilities in DWI/DUI defense and other criminal and quasi-criminal traffic matters extend from first-time DWAI offenses to felony DWI. The penalties you face will depend on your situation:

Penalties for DWAI

The penalties if convicted of DWAI in New York depend on whether you have been previously convicted of DWAI:

  • First-offense DWAI: This is a traffic infraction. Fines: $400-$500. Jail: up to 15 days. License suspension: 90 days.
  • Second-offense DWAI: A second DWAI within five years is a traffic infraction. Fines: $500-$750. Jail: up to 30 days. License revocation: at least six months.
  • Third-offense DWAI or subsequent offense: A third or greater offense within 10 years is a misdemeanor crime. Fines: $750-$1,500. Jail: up to 180 days. License revocation: at least six months.

Although first- and second-time DWAI charges within a 10-year period are treated as "infractions" rather than misdemeanor or felony counts as DWI charges are, consequences can still be life-changing, especially for anyone who drives for a living or commutes to work.

Penalties for Misdemeanor DWI/First-Offense DWI

A first-offense DWI is a misdemeanor crime. Penalties include $500 to $1,000 in fines, up to one year in jail and at least six months license revocation. It is also a crime that will appear on your record and could prevent you from renting a home, getting a job and even obtaining a student loan.

Penalties for Felony DWI

Most people are charged with felony DWI when they have prior DWI convictions on their record (within the past 10 years):

  • Second-offense DWI: A second DWI in 10 years is a class E felony. Fines: $1,000-$5,000. Jail: up to four years. License revocation: at least one year.
  • Third-offense DWI: A third DWI in 10 years is a class D felony. Fines: $2,000-$10,000. Jail: up to seven years. License revocation: at least one year.

Felony DWI can also be charged after DWI accidents causing serious injury or when you are suspected of driving under the influence with a child 15 years old or younger in your vehicle.

Penalties for Aggravated DWI

You can be charged with aggravated DWI for driving with a blood alcohol content of .18 or higher. Penalties for aggravated DWI include:

  • First-offense A-DWI: Fines: $1,000-$2,500. Jail: up to one year. License revocation: at least one year. This is a misdemeanor crime.
  • Second-offense A-DWI: Fines: $1,000-$5,000. Jail: up to four years. License revocation: at least 18 months. This is a class E felony.
  • Third-offense A-DWI: Fines: $2,000-$10,000. Jail: up to seven years. License revocation: at least 18 months. This is a class D felony.

Penalties for Underage DWI

Under New York's "Zero Tolerance" law, a driver under 21 years old can be charged with underage DWI for operating with a blood alcohol content (BAC) as low as .02. Penalties depend on the BAC:

  • BAC between .02 and .07: Administrative hearing with license suspension of up to six months and $225 in fines. If this is the second underage DWI under the zero tolerance law, the teenager could have his or her license revoked for one year or until he or she reaches 21 years of age.
  • BAC between .05 and .08: Same as DWAI charges above
  • BAC greater than .08: Same as DWI charges above

The consequences of a DWI conviction for a person under the age of 21 in New York go far beyond fines and driver's license suspension. A DWI can derail a young person's educational and employment prospects.

Penalties for DWAI Drugs

The penalties for driving while your ability is impaired by drugs are the same as the misdemeanor and felony DWI penalties listed above. However, there are separate penalties if you are suspected of driving while ability impaired by both alcohol and drugs. These "DWAI combination charges" carry the following penalties:

  • First-offense DWAI combination: Fines: $500-$1,000. Jail: up to one year. License revocation: at least six months.
  • Second-offense DWAI combination: Fines: $1,000-$5,000. Jail: up to four years. License revocation: at least one year and up to 18 months. This is a class E felony.
  • Third-offense DWAI combination: Fines: $2,000-$10,000. Jail: up to seven years. License revocation: at least one year and up to 18 months. This is a class D felony.

Penalties for Refusing a Chemical Test

In New York, it is illegal to refuse a chemical test during a DWI stop. Even if you are not charged with DWI, you can face the following penalties for refusing a chemical test:

  • First refusal: Fines: $500 ($550 for CDL holders). License revocation: at least one year (at least 18 months for CDL holders).
  • Refusal within five years of previous refusal or DWI conviction: Fines: $750. License revocation: at least 18 months. Commercial drivers will permanently lose their licenses.
  • Refusal under the zero tolerance law: Fines: $400-$850. License revocation: at least one year.

Minimizing the Impact Following Your DWI Arrest

If you have been charged with DUI, you can lose your license even before you have had a chance to defend yourself in your criminal trial. At Katz Lawyers, we can represent you in both the criminal court and the concurrent Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) proceedings. The inability to drive could mean the loss of your job and a significant change in your family life.

Our Manhattan drunk driving attorney strives to minimize the effects on your license, insurance and lifestyle, even if that involves requesting a conditional license.

Contact an Experienced Manhattan Drunk Driving Lawyer

Too much is at stake if you have one or multiple DWI charges, or you are facing a felony DWI conviction. To schedule an appointment with an experienced New York City DWI defense attorney regarding a drug- or alcohol-related offense that could result in license revocation, please contact Katzlawyers.com. Call us in Manhattan at 212-747-0606 or in Staten Island at 718-876-8105.