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DUI/DWI Information for New York

Driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) is an offence committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants. Increased alcohol levels in the driver's blood lead to diminished mental and motor reactions which, in turn, reduce the driver's ability to control the vehicle. This significantly increases the risk of the driver committing errors of judgment and often results in accidents causing severe injuries and even death.

In New York, as in the rest of the US, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities and accounts for an alarmingly high 40% to 50% of the total number of motor vehicle related deaths every year.

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REGULATIONS FOR DUI/DWI IN NEW YORK

In New York, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08% for drivers over 21 years of age and it is set at 0.02 - 0.07% for those under 21. For commercial drivers, the limit is set at 0.04%. For Aggravated DWI (A-DWI), BAC limit is set at 0.18% or more.

Having a New York license automatically provides your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer, while driving. This is the law of "implied consent" and can be used by the officer to test you if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, either through a breathalyser test or by an actual blood test to check the BAC. Refusing to take the chemical test will result in your license being revoked for a year and pay $ 500 as civil penalty fee for first offense and $750 for second refusal in five years plus license being revoked for minimum 18 months. You will then have to make an application for a new driving license.

Points will be added to your driving record and your license will be suspended or revoked, if you convicted of DUI/DWI. The number of points assessed, depend on the severity of the offense and the number of times you have been convicted for it.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS OVER 21:

If you are over 21 years old, and are caught with BAC higher than the set limit of 0.08%, you may be subjected to criminal actions in addition to administrative actions. If the DUI/DWI incident you are involved in is subjected to criminal action, it is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.

  1. The first offense of BAC 0.08% or more is treated as a Misdemeanor may result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or a $500- $1000 fine. Also, if convicted for a first offense BAC or DWAI (BAC 0.08% or more) or for driving under the influence of drugs (DWAI- drug):
    • Points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be revoked for six months (DWI) and suspended for six months (DWAI-drugs).
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Restricted Use or Conditional License if you meet the conditions and then become eligible to reinstate your license later on, if you meet the reinstatement requirements.
  2. The first offense of DWAI (BAC 0.05%-0.07%) is treated as a Misdemeanor may result in imprisonment for up to 15 days and/or $300-$500 fine and your license will be suspended for 90 days.
  3. The first offense of A-DWI is treated as a Misdemeanor may result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or $1000-$2000 fine and your license will be revoked for minimum one year.
  4. The first offense of DWAI -Combination (Drugs and Alcohol) is treated as a Misdemeanor may result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or $500-$1000 fine and your license will be revoked for minimum six months.
  5. The second offense or two offenses in ten years of BAC 0.08% or more is treated as a Class E Felony may result in imprisonment for up to four years and/or a $1000- $5000 fine. Also, if convicted for the second offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
    • Points will be added to your driving record.
    • Your license will be revoked for minimum one year.
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Restricted Use or Conditional License if you meet the conditions and then become eligible to reinstate your license later on, if you meet the reinstatement requirements.
    • You may have to undertake community service for 30 days.
  6. The second offense of DWAI (BAC 0.05%-0.07%) in five years is treated as a Traffic Infraction may result in imprisonment for up to 30 days and/or $500-$750 fine and your license will be suspended for minimum six months.
  7. The second offense of A-DWI in ten years is treated as a Class E Felony may result in imprisonment for up to four years and/or $1000-$5000 fine and your license will be revoked for minimum 18 months.
  8. The second offense of DWAI -Combination (Drugs and Alcohol) in ten years is treated as a Class E Felony and may result in imprisonment for up to four year s and/or $1000-$5000 fine and your license will be revoked for one year- 18 months.
  9. The third offense or three offenses in ten years of BAC 0.08% or more is treated as a Class D Felony and may result in imprisonment for up to seven years and/or a $2000-$10,000 fine. Also, if convicted for the third offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  10. Points will be added to your driving record.
  11. Your license will be revoked for a year.
  12. You may be eligible to drive using the Restricted Use or Conditional License if you meet the conditions and then become eligible to reinstate your license later on, if you meet the reinstatement requirements.
    • You may have to undertake community service for 60 days.
  13. The third offense of DWAI (BAC 0.05%-0.07%) in ten years is treated as a Misdemeanor may result in imprisonment for up to 180 days and/or $750-$1500 fine and your license will be revoked for minimum one year (if third offense is within five years of second).
  14. The third offense of A-DWI in ten years is treated as a Class D Felony may result in imprisonment for up to seven years and/or $2000-$10,000 fine and your license will be revoked for minimum 18 months.
  15. The third offense of DWAI -Combination (Drugs and Alcohol) in ten years is treated as a Class D Felony and may result in imprisonment for up to seven year s and/or $2000-$10,000 fine and your license will be revoked for one year- 18 months.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21

  1. Points will be added to your driving record and your license suspended or revoked, if you are convicted for "minor in possession/other alcohol offenses" (trying to purchase, possessing or having purchased any intoxicant; or being intoxicated using alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants; or having a BAC higher than 0.02%) while driving.
  2. The license may be suspended for six months after the first conviction, for minimum one year or till your 21st birthday whichever is more, after the second conviction. You will have to pay civil penalty of $125 to get re-licensed and suspension termination fee of $100.
  3. The court may order a minor's license to be revoked for one for first conviction and till your 21st birthday or for one year whichever is more for a subsequent conviction for any alcohol or drug-related offense (including possession and use) while driving; or a second offense of possessing or using alcohol by some one under 18 (youthful offender); or for changing or lying on your driver license.
  4. If you refuse to submit to a test in a five year period after previous DWI conviction or refusal, it may result in license being revoked for minimum one year or until 21st birthday whichever is more and you will have to pay $500 civil penalty and $750 for second offense. A first refusal may result in civil penalty of $300 and your license will be revoked for one year.
  5. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to minors if they are convicted of DUI/DWI.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS

If you drive a commercial vehicle and hold a commercial driver license (CDL):

  1. Points will be added to your driving record and you will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle minimum one year, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04%. You will also be issued an "out-of-service" order valid for 24 hours by the arresting officer if any level of BAC below 0.04% is detected.
  2. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04% while transporting hazardous materials.
  3. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for life if you are convicted for any of these offenses for the second time. You may receive a waiver after ten years.
  4. If you refuse to submit to a test your CDL will be lost for minimum one year.
  5. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to commercial drivers for their first and second offenses of DUI/DWI. The other penalties do not apply since they are barred after the second offense.

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI:

New York laws have administrative implications in addition to the criminal laws against DUI/DWI. An officer may arrest a driver if:

  • He/she is aged 21 and above and is driving with BAC 0.08% or more.
  • He/she is aged below 21 and is driving with BAC 0.02% or more.

Under this law, if you are arrested for DUI/DWI, the arresting officer will confiscate your New York driver license, file an AIR (Alcohol Influence Report), complete a notice of license suspension/revocation based on the nature of the offense along with a warrant, if applicable; and send the entire set to the Motor Vehicle Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) or the Division of Motor Vehicles.

The driver can schedule an administrative hearing after notice of suspension/revocation. It is a good idea to consult a DUI/DWI lawyer beforehand. If the hearing goes against the driver, his license will be suspended or revoked based on his previous five-year and ten year driving record. If he has any alcohol related convictions or suspensions for this five-year and ten-year period, his license will be revoked or suspended. You may be eligible to drive using the Restricted Use or Conditional License if you meet the conditions. The suspension or revocation begins on the effective date on final court order.

If the administrative hearing goes against the driver, he can ask for a review from the circuit court. He will, however, have to serve the suspension/revocation until the circuit court or TVB reaches a verdict. If the driver, however, does not request a hearing, then the suspension/revocation begins after the arrest, and is final.

LICENSE REINSTATEMENT AFTER DUI/DWI SUSPENSION/REVOCATION:

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI, it will result in your license being suspended or revoked. This means that your driving privileges will be taken away and you will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license with the DMV Driver Improvement Adjudication Unit (DIAU), once the period of suspension or revocation is over. Reinstating a license after a suspension or revocation may also mean taking the driving tests all over again. These will include the vision test, knowledge test and the road test. If you do not complete the reinstatement requirements, the license will remain suspended or revoked.

  1. To complete the reinstatement requirements, you must prove that you have successfully completed the Drinking Driver Program (DDP) of the New York State or a comparable program, pay the $25 suspension termination fee, $50 reapplication fee and other license fees if any, and maintain proof of financial responsibility for appropriate period from the date of suspension/revocation by filing SR-22.
  2. If you are being convicted for a second time or for A-DWI offense, it is mandatory for the court to order an ignition interlock device to be placed for breathalyser tests on any vehicle you drive for probation or revocation period.
  3. You can submit the reinstatement application (Form MV-44) and fees in person at a DMV office near you. You can also send the reinstatement package along with check or money order drawn in favour of ‘Commissioner of Motor Vehicles' by mail to:
Driver Improvement Adjudication Unit

Department of Motor Vehicles

6 Empire State Plaza

Albany, NY 12228

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • DUI/DWI has been a major cause of death and injury in our nation and it is our duty to prevent such needless pain and suffering. Simply: If you drink, DON'T DRIVE! If we all follow this rule to the letter - thousands of lives will be saved each year.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI get help from a DUI/DWI Lawyer.
  • See also Suspended License, Point System and Traffic Ticket Lawyers.
  • Besides all other penalties and fines, you will have to pay the DMV $250 per year for three years as Driver responsibility assessment. Misdemeanor carries an additional $160 surcharge and Felony of $270.
  • If you are under 21, your license may be suspended or you will lose your privilege to apply for a license if you illegally buy alcohol by providing non-driver ID card or license as age proof.
  • It is against the law to for passenger and driver to carry an alcoholic beverage on a public road, street or highway. If convicted for the first time it may result in imprisonment for up to 15 days and/or up to $150 fine, two points added to your record, compulsory surcharge, crime victim assistance fee. Subsequent offense in 18 months will carry higher punishments.
  • If your offense leads to death or grave injury to another person it may be treated as assault or vehicular manslaughter and may result in imprisonment for seven years and/or up to $5000 fine.
  • If you are convicted for three or more times in drug or alcohol related offenses or refuse three or more times your license may be permanently revoked. A request for waiver can be made only after five years.
  • For names of acceptable DDP providers call (800) 482-9564.
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I never thought about how serious drinking and driving can be until one morning while in prison, I was awakened by a dream that made me vow to never drink and drive again. I killed several of my relatives; the dream made me realize that this is a reality that could have happened. I don't want to take anyone's life over something that is so avoidable !

Kevin Fisher

Kevin Fisher, I appreciate what you wrote about your dream. Dreams can be very powerful messengers of information! I agree that the realization of hurting or worse, killing someone , while driving under the influence is overwhelming to say the least! The fact that it is avoidable is what must be acknowledged, head on. I have also decided to never drink and then drive! Thankfully I did not hurt anyone, but I could have! Call a cab. Walk. Call a friend. Just don't drive! What ever the cost! Believe me it's cheaper than the cost of drunk driving!!!

As a person who was just hospitalized by a DWI driver -- it's certainly been significant in my life. My family went through days of wondering if I'd even live or be a vegetable.

For anyone tempted, it's not about staying under .08. It's about having -nothing- in your body when you start a car. Same with texting.

Kevin - I'm glad you had a dream that you could take action on, instead of a reality you had to live with. I found myself struggling to "wake up" with a dread that the images going through my head were real. Only to wake up and find they were.

 

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