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There are various types of DUI offenses in New York, depending on whether a driver has been driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) by alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. DUI laws in the state determine the exact penalties that drivers may face for committing violations while operating motor vehicles on public roads within the state. The consequences of DUI in New York include driver’s license revocation or suspension, high driving fines, imprisonment, and a driving record that reflects the violations. Find out more about New York drunk driving charges and the benefits of hiring a defense attorney by reading the sections below.

DUI Citations and Convictions in New York

Drivers may have NY DUI charges added to their driving records when they are caught driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired. A DWI convictions are serious criminal charges and have severe penalties. The severity of New York DUI penalties varies based on the number of previous traffic offenses a driver has committed and on whether the current violation is considered a felony or a misdemeanor.

New York Under the Influence Violations and Penalties

Consequences of a DUI vary depending on the age and the blood alcohol content (BAC) level of the driver. In addition, DUI penalties may have a different degree of severity according to the number of previously committed traffic offenses and on the type of alcohol and drug-related violations. Therefore, DUI violations in New York cause various consequences for committing the following types of offenses:

  • Driving while ability impaired – DWAI
  • Driving while intoxicated or driving while ability impaired by a drug – DWI or DWAI-drug
  • Driving while impaired by combined alcohol and drugs – DWAI-combination
  • Aggravated driving while intoxicated – AGG-DWI

First DUI Offense

The penalties for committing a first DUI in New York may vary depending on the type of offense. For instance, committing a DWI for intoxicated driving or driving while ability impaired by a drug or a combination of alcohol and drugs will bring you various penalties. Drivers will get driver’s license revocation for a period of six months, prison sentences of up to one year and driving fines from $500 to $1,000. Moreover, the consequences for committing DWAI offenses with a BAC level from .05 to .07 percent are less severe. Drivers facing drunk driving charges for a DWAI offense will be required to pay a fine from $300 to $500, spend 15 days in prison and spend 90 days with a suspended driving credential.

Note: Committing an aggravated DUI in New York for the first time will require offenders to pay a traffic fine from $1,000 to $2,500, spend 1 year in jail and hold a driver’s license revocation for a period of 1 year.

Second DUI Offense

A second DUI offense in New York is considered as a Class E Felony and is penalized with harsher consequences than a first offense. Drivers who are charged with DUI in NY for a second time in a period of 10 years will face severe penalties for drunk driving or for committing DWAI-drug or DWAI-combination violations. The imposed penalties include a traffic fine of $1,000 to $5,000, 1-year revocation of driving privileges and imprisonment for 4 years. Drivers who commit a DWI or a DWAI-drug offense have to spend either 5 mandatory days in prison or 30 days of community service.

The penalties for committing a second DWAI offense with a BAC level from 0.05 to 0.07 percent will not be considered as a felony and will bring you the lowest charges. For instance, drunk driving fines for such an offense will vary from $500 to $750, the revocation period will be at least 6 months and the prison sentence will not exceed a period of 30 days.

Third or Subsequent DUI Offense

A third DUI offense in New York and every subsequent conviction thereafter in a period of 10 years incurs harsher penalties. The fines are higher for a third DWI, and jail or prison time and license revocation periods are longer.

Drinking and Driving in New York

Drivers will face DUI charges in New York when operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or when their ability to drive is impaired due to usage of either alcohol or drugs. Each intoxicant has similar effects on a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle and endangers the safety of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Therefore, motorists getting a DUI charge are highly encouraged to avoid using alcohol or drugs when driving their vehicles on public roads in the future.

Intoxicated driving may also cause vehicular manslaughter, which is a considered a criminal offense due to the death or bodily injury of others. Hiring an experienced DUI lawyer in such a situation is recommended for drivers who are facing vehicular manslaughter charges after a DUI.

New York DUI Attorneys

A DUI defense attorney is needed when drivers are faced with serious criminal charges for DUI and DWI on public roads. Drivers are encouraged to hire the best DUI lawyer in NY to minimize the penalties of their conviction and avoid or shorten prison sentences. In order to choose a defense attorney, drivers should conduct background checks on potential candidates in order to make sure they are choosing the best legal representative to defend them in court.

Open Container Laws in New York

One of the New York DUI laws that drivers must obey while driving motor vehicles is the Open Container Law. Under this law, drivers are prohibited from driving their vehicles while carrying or drinking from an open alcoholic beverage container. The penalties for disobeying this law require drivers to pay a $150 driving fine, a mandatory surcharge, a prison sentence of 15 days, a crime victim assistance fee and an addition of two demerit points on a motorist’s driving record. Drivers transporting open alcoholic beverages must place the container in the trunk or another part of the vehicle that is out of their reach while the vehicle is in motion.

Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in New York

When reinstating a DUI drivers license suspension, drivers will be expected to satisfy several requirements which may be found on the DMV notice. The DUI suspended license reinstatement steps vary based on the type of offense committed. However, the general requirements include responding to the NY DWI traffic ticket on time, requesting a restoration approval, paying the applicable fees and fines, completing a prison sentence (if needed) and enrolling in a DUI-related traffic school program.

Note: Although the license reinstatement process in some states requires drivers to provide proof of car insurance, also known as SR-22 insurance, an SR-22 filing is not required in New York.

New York Alcohol Awareness Classes

Drivers who are charged with DWI in NY may be required to participate in the New York State Impaired Driving Program for alcohol and drug rehabilitation as part of the reinstatement requirements. However, motorists must be aware that these DUI classes will not prevent or reduce the implied fines, fees and penalties. When facing charges of drunk driving and license suspension, drivers may be required to enroll in such DUI-related traffic school program in order to be eligible for a conditional license that will enable them to operate a motor vehicle in specific situations.

New York Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI

According to New York DUI laws, drivers may be charged with a DUI for possessing a BAC level higher than the allowed 0.08 percent for adult motorists, or 0.02 percent for minor drivers. The Implied Consent law requires drivers to submit to a chemical test whenever requested by a police officer. DWI charges and consequences will be added to a motorist’s driving record when drivers fail or refuse to submit to a BAC test.

New York Hardship License

Drivers with a suspended license that came as a result of committing alcohol or drug-related violations may be eligible to apply for a conditional license. These hardship licenses allow drivers to operate their motor vehicles to and from work, school or medical institutions. To obtain a conditional license while waiting for the DWI drivers license suspension period to be over, motorists must first enroll in the NYS Impaired Driver Program.

Last updated on Friday, September 21 2018.

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