If you have been accused of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in New York, it is a serious offense. New York has some of the toughest DWI laws in the country, which cause thousands of people every year to lose their license.

As a first-time offender, you face varying criminal and administrative penalties based on your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest, as well as factors such as whether there is property damage or personal injury.  If this is not your first DWI arrest, penalties increase.

If you are convicted, you may face:

  • Jail time
  • Loss of driving privileges or a suspended driver’s license
  • Fines
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (breath tester)
  • Permanent criminal record.

There are other costs as well — your family will face embarrassment, and a DWI may affect your career and opportunities for employment.

Start Your DWI / DUI Defense Today!

Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long to contact a DWI defense lawyer! Time is of the essence, and your court date is fast approaching. If you’ve made a mistake and find yourself in trouble with the law, don’t give up.

Michael Litman, based in White Plains, NY, has over a decade of experience and knowledge about how to best defend individuals charged with DWI offenses.

For questions or to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 917.554.8231.

The DWI laws in New York are complex, and charges are not something you can fight on your own. You need the help of an experienced and effective DWI defense attorney who is a strong advocate in the courtroom to fight for your rights against zealous prosecutors, take your case to trial if necessary, and get you the best outcome possible.

The skilled and experienced DWI defense lawyer Michael Litman, is a seasoned trial attorney who knows the courts, the prosecutors, and the system, and is prepared to fight for you throughout the entire process. Delaying can only make your situation worse, so contact Mike Litman immediately for a free consultation at 917-554-8231.

What Are the DWI Charges in NY?

The higher your blood alcohol content (BAC), the greater the chances of an accident. As a result, New York has many offenses related to driving while under the influence, and punishments vary according to your BAC and factors such as whether you have had previous offenses.

The New York Vehicle and Traffic Laws (VTL), list the different levels of offenses you can be charged with as follows:

  • 1 – Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI): This is not considered to be a crime, but a violation-level offense. You can be charged with a DWI if you are driving while impaired and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is between .05% and .07%. To be convicted for DWAI, the prosecutor has to show only that you were driving and that you were impaired by alcohol.
  • 2 – Driving While Intoxicated, Per Se (DWI): In New York, it is against the law to drive a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more, the general standard for being considered intoxicated; and for drivers of commercial motor vehicles, the BAC is .04 BAC. This offense is called “per se” because the charge is based upon the BAC, as determined by a chemical test. To be convicted, it needs to be shown that you were driving while your BAC was between .08 and .17, as determined by a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine.

A DWI Per Se can be charged as:

  • a misdemeanor if it is your first offense or you had no prior DWI convictions within 10 years
  • an E felony if you had one prior DWI conviction within the last 10 years, or
  • a D felony if you had two prior DWI convictions within the last 10 years.
  • 3 – Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): This can also be charged as a misdemeanor or felony (similar to 1192.2 above). The difference is that this DWI charge is based upon the observations made by the police officer and not on a specific chemical test measurement. The two charges are often made together when a chemical test is done, allowing the DA’s office to prove DWI by both a BAC reading and by observation.

The observations by the police officer that can be used as signs of intoxication include:

  • traffic infractions committed
  • odor of alcohol
  • watery and bloodshot eyes
  • slurred speech
  • an open container of alcohol in the vehicle
  • unsteady walking and standing
  • inability to follow directions
  • performance on the coordination tests (also known as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs)).
  • 2a(a) – Aggravated DWI, Per Se – This can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony based on having a BAC of .18 or greater as shown by a chemical test of blood, breath or urine.
  • 2a(b) – Aggravated DWI, with a child (Leandra’s Law) – This is a felony charge, and will be charged if you are alleged to have driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child aged 15 or younger as a passenger in the vehicle.
  • 4 – Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs – You can be charge with driving while impaired by drugs based on the officer’s observation, if there are no signs of alcohol (e.g., no odor of alcohol). This can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation.
  • Drug impairment can be measured by coordination tests administered by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) or by chemical tests of blood or urine. In addition, if the officer finds evidence of drugs, even some prescription drugs, in the possession of the driver or in the car, the officer may assume that the driver is under the influence of those drugs, although some evidence of impairment is needed as well.
  • 4a – Driving While Under the Combined Influence of Drugs and Alcohol – This can also be charged as a misdemeanor or felony based on the officer’s observations of impairment along with a chemical test of blood or urine that is positive for both drugs and alcohol.

In addition, New York has a charge for refusing to take a chemical test and a 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.

What Are Punishments for DWI Charges in New York?

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, penalties for an alcohol- or drug-related violation include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term as follows:

  • Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (AGG DWI)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $1,000 – $2,500
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 1 year
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least one year

  • Second AGG DWI in 10 years (E felony)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $1,000 – $5,000
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 4 years
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least 18 months

  • Third AGG DWI in 10 years (D felony)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $2,000 – $10,000
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 7 years
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least 18 months

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Impaired by a Drug (DWAI-Drug)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $500 – $1,000
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 1 year
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least six months

  • Second DWI or DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (E felony)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $1,000 – $5,000
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 4 years
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least one year

  • Third DWI or DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (D felony)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $2,000 – $10,000
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 7 years
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least one year

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Alcohol/Drugs (DWAI-Combination)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $500 – $1,000
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 1 year
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least six months

  • Second DWAI-Combination in 10 years (E felony)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $1,000 – $5,000
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 4 years
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least one year

  • Third DWAI-Combination in 10 years (D felony)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $2,000 – $10,000
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 7 years
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least one year

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $300 – $500
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 15 days
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Suspended for 90 days

  • Second DWAI violation in 5 years

    • MANDATORY FINE: $500 – $750
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 30 days
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least six months

  • Third or subsequent DWAI within 10 years (Misdemeanor)

    • MANDATORY FINE: $750 – $1,500
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: 180 days
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least six months

  • Zero Tolerance Law

    • MANDATORY FINE: $125 civil penalty and $100 fee to terminate suspension
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: None
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Suspended for six months

  • Second Zero Tolerance Law

    • MANDATORY FINE: $125 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: None
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for one year or until age 21

  • Chemical Test Refusal

    • MANDATORY FINE: $500 civil penalty ($550 for commercial drivers)
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: None
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least one year, 18 months for commercial drivers.

  • Chemical Test Refusal within five years of a previous DWI-related charge/Chemical Test Refusal

    • MANDATORY FINE: $750 civil penalty
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: None
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least 18 months, one year or until age 21 for drivers under age 21, permanent CDL revocation for commercial drivers.

  • Chemical Test Refusal - Zero Tolerance Law

    • MANDATORY FINE: $300 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: None
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least one year.

  • Chemical Test Refusal - Second or subsequent Zero Tolerance Law

    • MANDATORY FINE: $750 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: None
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least one year.

  • Driving Under the Influence (Out-of-State)

    • MANDATORY FINE: N/A
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: N/A
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least 90 days. If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year.

  • Driving Under the Influence (Out-of State) with any previous alcohol-drug violation

    • MANDATORY FINE: N/A
    • MAXIMUM JAIL TERM: N/A
    • MANDATORY DRIVER LICENSE ACTION: Revoked for at least 90 days (longer term with certain prior offenses). If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year or until age 21 (longest term).

Defense attorney Mike Litman can help you fight the DWI charges against you, and make a difference in the punishments you are likely to recireceive, so call for a free consultation today at 9917-554-8231.

What are Defenses for DWI Charges in New York?

Defenses will depend on the individual circumstances of your case. An experienced attorney will look for problems in several areas, including:

  • Challenging the basis for the stop: If the police officer did not have probable cause to stop, detain and arrest you, then you may be able to get evidence thrown out.
  • Challenging the results of the field sobriety results: Field sobriety tests may be inaccurate and results can be tainted by factors including human error, illness, medication, and even obesity. Tests are subject to officer interpretation, which may be incorrect.
  • Challenging breathalyzer results: Breathalyzer results may not take mitigating factors into account, such as the driver’s weight, age, gender, or ingestion of medication.
  • Challenging officer observations: The police can make mistakes and be susceptible to tiredness, forgetfulness, and misconceptions, like everyone else.

Contact an Experienced New York DWI Attorney for Help

New York DWI laws are complicated, and to ensure the best results, it pays to enlist the help of a skilled DWI lawyer who knows the laws and the system. An experienced lawyer will be able to analyze your case and determine which legal defenses to assert, and will handle hearings, plea bargaining, expert witnesses, and take your case to trial if necessary.

Whether challenging the legality of your charges and test results or negotiating with prosecutors, attorney Michael Litman is prepared to fight for you and get you the best outcome in your specific case. We offer a free DWI case analysis, so do not delay. Contact us online or call our offices today at 917-554-8231.