Most people are familiar with the acronym DUI, for driving under the influence. New York is unique in that it does not recognize “DUI” as a crime. Instead, the New York penal code calls the crime of driving while intoxicated a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated).
If you show a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher when you are pulled over, New York Law considers you to be legally drunk. If you were operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher, you have committed the crime of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
If an officer pulls you over and your BAC shows as between .05% and .07% you may be charged with DWAI or Driving While Ability Impaired. A DWAI charge is considered a lesser crime than a DWI, not a criminal charge. If convicted of a first-time DWAI offense, you must pay a fine of $300-$500.
Importantly, DWI and DWAI charges can change if your BAC shows substances other than alcohol. Your criminal charge would change to DWAI-Drugs or DWI-drugs to indicate the presence of controlled substances other than alcohol in your blood while you operated a motor vehicle.
What are the Consequences of a DWI Conviction?
Upon conviction of your first DWI conviction, you will pay a fine between $500-$1000 in New York. If you are convicted of an Aggravated DWI, or you have previous DUI/DWI convictions, the sentencing will be more severe.
For example, if your BAC is .18 or higher and you are convicted of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated for the third time, you may face up to seven years in jail, have your license revoked for at least 18 months, and be subject to a $2,000-$10,000 fine.
One of the most damaging consequences of a DWI conviction can be the revocation of your driver’s license. This could impair your ability to get to and from work or if your employment requires a driver’s license, it could result in the termination of your job.
New York offers a Drinking Driver Program (DDP) that allows first time DWI offenders to receive a conditional driver’s license when they participate in the program. A judge can terminate your participation in the program, however. If your driver’s license is revoked, we may be able to assist you in obtaining a conditional license or in navigating the process to have your license reinstated.
Get Expert Legal Help with Your DWI Charge Now
If a New York Court convicts you of a DWI, even if it is a first-time offense, you will have a criminal record that could hinder future job prospects and housing possibilities. It would help if you had an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the Manhattan court system and will fight for your rights.
Contact our experienced New York DWI attorneys at the Manhattan-based Nass, Roper, & Levin, PC, and we will vigorously defend against your DWI charge.
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