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Is Drinking & Driving a Felony in New York?

Is Drinking & Driving a Felony in New York?Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense in the state of New York. That doesn’t mean, however, that it always results in felony charges.

In fact, most drunk driving-related offenses are considered traffic infections or misdemeanors, unless aggravating factors apply. Let’s take a look at the different offenses and the kinds of scenarios that could result in a felony:

1. Driving While Ability Impaired

Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to the point that it impairs your ability to maneuver safely in traffic constitutes DWAI. Motorists generally face DWAI charges when their BAC registers between 0.05 and 0.08, although there are exceptions. DWAI—including subsequent offenses—is almost always a misdemeanor.

2. Driving While Intoxicated

DWI charges generally apply to motorists who register a BAC of 0.08 or higher. If you’re operating a commercial vehicle, however, you could face DWI charges for registering a BAC as low as 0.04. Those who already have one DWI conviction on their record can expect to face class E felony charges if it has been less than 10 years since the prior offense.

3. Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated

Motorists who register a BAC of 0.18 or higher can face charges for aggravated DWI, which carry harsher penalties than those for standard DWI. A second AGG DWI charge in 10 years is a class E felony while a third is a class D felony.

4. Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug Other Than Alcohol

A second conviction for DWAI/Drug in 10 years is a class E felony while a third is a class D felony. The former carries up to four years in prison; the latter, up to seven.

5. Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

The potential penalties for subsequent DWAI/Combination offenses are the same as those for second and third DWAI/Drug offenses.

What Are the Penalties for a DWI-Related Felony in New York?

A seasoned criminal defense attorney can evaluate your situation to determine precisely what’s at stake. Generally speaking, those who have been charged with a class E felony face up to four years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000. This is in addition to any administrative penalties like a license revocation.

Those who have been charged with a class D felony, on the other hand, face up to seven years in prison and a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000. They can also expect to receive a license revocation of at least one year.

Call 716-855-3761 to Speak with a DWI Defense Attorney in New York

If you are facing drunk driving-related charges, turn to LoTempio P.C. Law Group to determine the best way to proceed. Frank LoTempio III has the resources and experience to protect your rights and help you structure a strategic defense based on your unique circumstances. Call 716-855-3761 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a consultation with a DWI defense lawyer in New York.


Jerry is a Freelance Marketing Director who manages this page and posts blogs on behalf of the Attorneys at LoTempio Law Firm. The information in these blogs come directly from the Firm's Attorneys.

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