What are the Penalties for a DWI Charge?

New York’s regulations on Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired are fairly harsh, and defending against a DWI charge is all but impossible without a New York DWI Lawyer. Many drivers are usually pressured into pleading guilty, but even then it’s important to reduce the penalties as much as possible.

A DWI record is usually a red flag for insurance companies, giving them all the excuse they need to raise policy payments or cancel the plan entirely, leaving you high and dry. It’s a misdemeanor for first offense, which shows up as a criminal record that may bias your employer or job search. A  DWI lawyer in Syracuse explains more.

In terms of court-ordered penalties however, you’d be looking at license suspension, community service or jail time, and fines; and more fines, for years even after the incident.

Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (or Prescription Drugs) is the lightest of offenses, considered a traffic infraction, and demanding:

1) A fine of $300 to $500; increasing to minimum of $750 to $1500 for repeated offenses
2) Up to 15 days in jail, to 30-180 days for repeated offense;
3) Suspension of your license for 3-6 months;
4) A Misdemeanor criminal record for two or more DWI offenses.

Penalties for a Driving While Intoxicated conviction, for a first or second offense, usually involves:
1) Community Service or Jail time for up to 1 year;
2) Revocation of your Driver’s License from 6 months to 1 year;
3) Fines between $500-$1000;
4) Surcharge of $395;
5) Driver Responsibility Assessment of $250 for 3 years;
6) Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle;
7) A criminal record that won’t clear for at least 10 years;

Repeated offenses are become a Felony charge. Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated involves an additional unlawful act committed while intoxicated, or blood alcohol levels of more than .18. All previous penalties apply and some are increased to:

1) A minimum of $1000 fine and up to $5000;
2) Surcharge of $520;
3) Minimum of 1 year license revocation;
4) Jail time of up to 4 years;
5) Probation of 5 years;
6) And a Felony in the criminal record.

In addition, there are also penalties for refusing a chemical test, whether the breathalyzer, blood or urine test. This incurs a revocation of at least 1 year and a penalty of $500 for when applying for a new license. Refusing a test within 5 years after a previous DWI-related charge will have their license revoked for a minimum of 1 and 1/2 years and pay a $750 civil penalty.

Though minors are treated less harshly for a DWI conviction or chemical test refusal, licenses are usually revoked for at least 1 year, or you reach age 21; whichever is longer. Then you incur the full weight of adult penalties if you do it again.

Remember, you don’t even need to feel drunk to be considered a drunk driver. Avoid driving after drinking, but if you happen to be accused of doing so, contact a New York State DWI lawyer immediately.