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New York DWI Laws & Penalties

New York DWI

New York DWI offenses (or Driving Under the Influence) are best defined by the 2 violations that you are most likely accused of. The first DWI related offense is the one brought on by the New York court system where they must prove that you were driving or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. This is where the field sobriety tests, and other evidence can be used to demonstrate your level of impairment.

The second is what's known as the per se which makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08% or greater. To be in violation of the per se law the driver need not be impaired, but simply have a BAC of .08% or greater while operating a motor vehicle.

What are the DWI Violations in New York State?

DWI (Driving While Intoxicated); Intoxication is set at or above a .08% BAC or or other evidence of intoxication. This other evidence of intoxication varies but must be substantial.

First offense DWI will result in fines of $500 to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail. Drivers license will be revoked for at least 6 months.

Second offense DWI within 10 years of the first offense is a class E felony and carries fines of $1,000 to $5,000 and up to 4 years in jail. Drivers license will be revoked for at least 1 year.

Third offense DWI within 10 years of the second is a class D felony and carries fines of $2,000 to $10,000 and up to 7 years in prison. Drivers license will be revoked for at least 1 year. 


Aggravated DWI, or Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated or A-DWI means a person has committed the crime of DWI but with a higher blood alcohol concentration. The BAC level for aggravated DWI is set at .18% or higher.

First offense A-DWI carries a fine of $1,000 to $2,500 and up to 1 year in jail. Mandatory driver license revocation for 1 year minimum.

Second offense A-DWI within 10 years of the first offense is a class E felony and carries a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and up to 4 years in jail. Mandatory driver license revocation for 18 months minimum.

Third A-DWI offense within 10 years of the second offense is a class D felony and carries fines of $2,000 to $10,000 and up to 7 years in prison. Driver license revocation for 18 months minimum.

In addition there are also some other related New York DWI offenses listed below. New York is unique in that you can still be convicted of a crime even if your blood alcohol concentration comes in below the legal limit. This first violation is what you would be charged with; 

DWAI/Alcohol: Driving While Ability Impaired (by alcohol); .05% BAC to .07% BAC, or other evidence of impairment.

First offense DWAI/Alcohol carries fines of $300 to $500 and up to 15 days in jail. Drivers license will be suspended for 90 days.

Second DWAI/Alcohol offense within 5 years carries fines of $500 to $750 and up to 30 days in jail. Drivers license will be revoked for 6 months.

DWAI/Drug: Driving While Ability Impaired by a single Drug other than alcohol. 

First offense DWAI?Drug carries fines of $500 to $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail. Drivers license revocation for 6 months minimum.

Second offense DWAI/Drug within 10 years of the first offense is a class E felony and carries fines of $1,000 to $5,000 and up to 4 years in jail. Drivers license will be revoked for at least 18 months.

Third offense DWAI/Drug within 10 years of the second offense is a class D felony and carries fines of $2,000 to $10,000 and up to 7 years in prison. Drivers license will be revoked for at least 18 months.

DWAI/Combination: Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol. 

First offense DWAI/Combination carries a $500 to $1,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail. Drivers license will be revoked for at least 6 months.

Second DWAI/Combination offense carries fines of $1,000 to $5,000 and up to 4 years in jail. Drivers license will be revoked for at least 1 year.

Third offense DWAI/Combination carries fines of $2,000 to $10,000 and up to 7 years in prison. Drivers license will be revoked for at least 1 year to 18 months.

Chemical Test Refusal: Anyone who refuses to take a chemical test can receive a driver license revocation of at least 1 year and must pay a $500 civil penalty ($550 for a driver of commercial vehicles with a CDL) to apply for a new driver license. A driver who refuses a chemical test during the five years after a DWI related charge will have their driver license revoked for at least 18 months and must pay a $750 civil penalty to apply for a new driver license. 

Zero Tolerance Law: A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a .02% BAC to .07% BAC violates the Zero Tolerance Law.

Please note that 3 or more alcohol or drug-related convictions or refusals within a 10 year period can result in a permanent revocation of your New York drivers license.

New York BAC Assumptions

  • BAC levels of .001 to .05 are not considered to be driving while ability impaired

  • BAC levels of .05 to .70 are considered to be driving while ability impaired

  • BAC levels of .08 or greater are considered to be driving while intoxicated

New York Implied Consent Laws

  • Chemical testing is allowed in the forms of blood, breath, urine or saliva as selected by the officer.

  • The officer must advise the defendant of the penalties for refusing the test.

  • The results of the test can result in a 90 day to 6 month license suspension.

  • A test refusal will result in a 6 month to 1 year license revocation and a civil penalty of up to $750 and the refusal is admissible in court if the officer can prove proper advisement.

Chemical Testing

  • A chemical test is presumed to be valid if it was performed by a person with a valid Department of Health permit in accordance with department rules and regulations and the test was conducted within 2 hours of the arrest.

  • Blood draws for police testing must be administered by a licensed physician, registered nurse or other qualified person.

  • The defendant has the right to have an independent chemical test done by a qualified person of their choice. The costs associated with the independent testing are the responsibility of the defendant.

  • Test results must be made available to the defendant and his or her New York DWI attorneyupon request.

Plea Bargains

  • If the district attorney determines that the original charge was not appropriate he or she can reduce the charge. No reduction in charges is allowed if the case involves a death or serious injury.

For additional information on New York DWI penalties visit the New York State DMV page for current sanctions.

New York DWI Attorneys

If you're facing a NY DWI charge don't make the mistake of trying to represent yourself or worse just pleading guilty.  DWI defense is a complex part of the law and requires a skilled attorney who has represented clients in similar situations.  You want to speak with only those attorneys who ONLY handle DWI cases- a specialist.

DUI Arrest Help.com has compiled a list of skilled defense attorneys in New York who have agreed to offer you a free initial consultation to discuss your case.  There is no obligation to use them, and you can get some great information about what you should do.  

Click here to speak with one of our New York DWI lawyers.

SR22 Insurance Considerations after a New York DWI

New York requires those convicted of DWI offenses to maintain SR22 insurance for a period of 3 years from the date their driving privileges were reinstated.  SR22 insurance is a form of high risk auto insurance and is more expensive than 'regular' auto insurance.

DUI Arrest Help.com has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of New York and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

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