Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) And Driving While Under The Influence (DUI)
Drunk driving, formally called driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York, is a serious crime. NY will suspend your license, impose expensive fines, and even put you in jail if you drink and drive. Drinking and driving with a child in your car is a felony in New York. There are many other possible consequences including the mandatory installation of an interlock device in any vehicle that you own. An interlock device forces you to submit to a breath test to operate your vehicle. It is installed at the defendant’s expense.
DWI/DUI convictions are especially serious for licensed professionals, people who have to drive for work, any one who is not a United States Citizen/persons seeking immigration benefits. If you have been charged with DWI you need a lawyer to help you navigate the complicated Vehicle and Traffic Law and get you the best plea for your specific situation. See http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/nyregion/18albany.html and https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/24/us/politics/warrants-required-to-test-blood-but-not-breath-supreme-court-rules.html.
Here is some information on the DWI/DUI law in New York:
To determine whether you’re legally driving while intoxicated, the state uses your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC.
Law enforcement will charge you with DWI if your BAC is:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher or other evidence of intoxication. For drivers of commercial motor vehicles: .04 BAC or other evidence of intoxication.
- Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI): .18 BAC or higher
- Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol): More than .05 BAC but less than .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.
- Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug)
- Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination)
- Chemical Test Refusal: A driver who refuses to take a chemical test
Penalties for DWI & DUI
Penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations
In New York State, the penalties for an alcohol or drug-related violation include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term.
|Violation||Mandatory Fine||Maximum Jail Term||Mandatory Driver License Action|
|Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (AGG DWI)||$1,000 – $2,500||1 year||Revoked for at least one year|
|Second AGG DWI in 10 years (E felony)||$1,000 – $5,000||4 years||Revoked for at least 18 months|
|Third AGG DWI in 10 years (D felony)||$2,000 – $10,000||7 years||Revoked for at least 18 months|
|Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Impaired by a Drug (DWAI-Drug)||$500 – $1,000||1 year||DWI – Revoked for at least six months;|
DWAI-Drugs – Suspended for at least six months
|Second DWI or DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (E felony)||$1,000 – $5,000||4 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Third DWI or DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (D felony)||$2,000 – $10,000||7 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Alcohol/Drugs (DWAI-Combination)||$500 – $1,000||1 year||Revoked for at least six months|
|Second DWAI-Combination in 10 years (E felony)||$1,000 – $5,000||4 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Third DWAI-Combination in 10 years (D felony)||$2,000 – $10,000||7 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI)||$300 – $500||15 days||Suspended for 90 days|
|Second DWAI violation in 5 years||$500 – $750||30 days||Revoked for at least six months|
|Third or subsequent DWAI within 10 years (Misdemeanor)||$750 – $1,500||180 days||Revoked for at least six months|
|Chemical Test Refusal – Second or subsequent Zero Tolerance Law||$750 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee||None||Revoked for at least one year|
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles:
Leandra’s Law & ignition interlock devices
What is “Leandra’s Law”?
Leandra’s Law was signed into law on November 18, 2009 in honor of Leandra Rosado. Leandra was an 11-year old killed while she rode in a vehicle with the intoxicated mother of one of her friends. In response to this tragedy, the NYS Legislature made several changes to the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL). The law strengthened the penalties against motorists who drink and drive, and requires that
- Any person sentenced for Driving While Intoxicated on or after August 15, 2010 must have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle they own or operate
- The driver will have an “ignition interlock” restriction added to their driver license
See additional information about Leandra’s Law at the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Alcohol, Drugs and Impaired Driving page.
What are the different parts of Leandra’s Law and what are the penalties for conviction?
Leandra’s Law includes the following provisions:
Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle
The law established a new Class E Felony. The law states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child who is 15 years of age or younger is a passenger in the vehicle.
Ignition interlock requirement
A court must sentence a person convicted of either Aggravated DWI/Child in Vehicle or Aggravated DWI/Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .18 or More to a period of probation or to a conditional discharge. The court must require the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle owned or operated by a person convicted under this law. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least 12 months, unless otherwise permitted by the court.
A court that sentences a person for a Driving While Intoxicated conviction on or after August 15, 2010 must impose a conditional discharge or probation, and a condition of the sentence must be the installation and use of an ignition interlock device in any motor vehicle the person owns or operates. The ignition interlock device must remain in the vehicle for at least 12 months, unless otherwise permitted by the court.
What is an “ignition interlock device”?
An ignition interlock device connects to a motor vehicle ignition system and measures the alcohol content in the breath of the operator. The device prevents the vehicle from being started until the motorist provides an acceptable breath sample.
If ignition interlock is ordered by a court, the system must be installed on each vehicle the motorist owns or operates. The device must remain installed for at least six months. The ignition interlock restriction will be added to the driver license record even if the license is revoked. The restriction will appear on the back of the driver license document as “interlock device”.
Courts and probation departments will direct convicted motorists to vendors for ignition interlock installation. The NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services website provides details on ignition interlock device vendors and information from the manufacturers of the device.
How do I remove the ignition interlock restriction from my driver license?
Your ignition interlock monitor must give you a form that states that you are no longer required to install and maintain the ignition interlock device in motor vehicles you own or operate. You must take this form to a local DMV office and apply for a new document without the restriction.
Resources for People with Suspended, Revoked, or Restricted Licenses