Drunk Driving Defense Laws in New York

If you are driving in New York, it is important to understand how the state handles drunk driving before you have a drink and get behind the wheel. Too much alcohol can put you over the limit and you could face misdemeanor or felony drunk driving charges. If you are arrested and charged with DWI, find a local New York DUI defense attorney to help resolve your case.

New York Drunk Driving Laws

In New York, the offense of driving while intoxicated occurs when a person’s mental and physical abilities fall below that of a reasonable driver due to consuming alcohol, or when the driver has a BAC of .08% or more.

For commercial drivers, this threshold is only a BAC of .04%. Drivers under the age of 21 years old have an even lower BAC threshold of .02%.

Nonetheless, having a BAC under .08% may still lead to criminal charges in New York. State law created another offense of driving while ability impaired (DWAI) for those with a BAC higher than .05% but less than .08%. Typically, this is treated as a traffic violation but multiple convictions may lead to more serious criminal charges.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC of .18% or more; driving under the influence with a child in the car; causing an accident resulting in serious bodily harm or death; prior convictions

Driving while ability impaired is a misdemeanor in New York, punishable by a fine of not less than $300 to $500, imprisonment of not more than 15 days, and a one-year license revocation. Additionally, DWI convictions come with requiring an ignition interlock device (IID) for a minimum of six months upon license reinstatement.

Additionally, a second offense is still a misdemeanor and is punishable by not less than $500-$750 fine or not more than 30 days imprisonment in jail or both.

The third offense is punishable by a fine of $750 to $1,500 fine, imprisonment of not more than 180 days in a county jail, or by both.

For each subsequent conviction, the penalty minimum and maximums increase in severity, and so does the length of the ignition interlock requirement. Multiple felony offenses may even result in a lifetime license revocation.

New York courts may add additional penalties for DWI and DWAI offenses such as:

Drunk Driving Plea Bargains Limited in New York

New York doesn’t allow plea deals on drunk driving charges. This means that even on a first offense, the driver wouldn’t be able to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser charge, like a reckless driving charge, and avoid more serious consequences by taking advantage of a plea agreement.

If you end up being in the stressful position of facing drunk driving charges in New York, you should learn all you can about New York’s DWI laws. Getting help from a DWI defense lawyer experienced in these types of cases can help you navigate the criminal system and advise you about the best way to handle your DWI case.

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