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Facing DWI charges in New York? Four potential penalties

Maybe you had a drink or two; maybe you didn’t. Regardless, the sight of red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror can send your blood pressure soaring.

Those who are stopped and accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol can benefit from a basic understanding of the types of charges and the penalties that can apply in New York.

What types of charges can a driver get in New York?

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles notes that there are a number of different charges that can apply depending on the circumstances. The most commonly known is a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. This charge generally applies to those who are driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

If the driver is accused of having a BAC of 0.18 or higher, an aggravated driving while intoxicated (Aggravated DWI) may apply.

What types of criminal penalties come with these charges?

A variety of criminal penalties can apply, depending on the details of the allegations. Four of the more common include:

  • Driver’s license suspension. This penalty can vary from a 90-day suspension to a six-month revocation to a permanent revocation depending on the details of the allegations.
  • Monetary penalty. A first DWI can come with a fine that ranges from $500 to $1,000, a second conviction ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 and a third within ten years results in a fine of up to $10,000. An aggravated DWI conviction comes with stiffer penalties. An initial fine for this conviction can range from $1,000 to $2,500 and a second offense can jump to $5,000.
  • Ignition interlock devices. In some cases, a drunk-driving violation can come with a mandatory ignition interlock device requirement. These devices require the driver to provide a breath sample before the vehicle will start. The cost of installation and maintenance is generally the driver’s responsibility.
  • Imprisonment. Even a first DWI offense can result in one-year imprisonment. A second offense can result in up to four years, and a third up to seven years. Aggravated DWIs have the same potential jail terms.

In addition to previous offenses, factors like the presence of a child in the vehicle or an accident that results in property damage or injury can also result in increased penalties.

What should I do if I am facing DWI charges in New York?

Those facing these charges should take the charges seriously. A charge does not automatically become a conviction. Charges can be fought. Defenses are available that can result in a dismissal of charges.

The right defense strategy depends on the details of each case. Each case is unique. As a result, it is wise for those facing these charges to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. This legal professional will review the details of your case can help craft a defense to better ensure your rights are protected.


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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