In our last post, we reviewed the differences under New York law between drivers’ license revocations and suspensions. In this post, we want to review the penalties that can be imposed for alcohol or drug-related driving violations that involve license revocation or suspension.
The nature and severity of the penalty depends upon the amount of alcohol that the defendant has consumed. In general, a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) level above 0.08% is deemed to be legal intoxication (“DWI”). A BAC between 0.05% to 0.07% constitutes driving while a person’s ability to drive is impaired (“DWAI”). A person can also be convicted of DWAI if he or she has used a combination of drugs and alcohol or a combination of the two.
A first DWIA violation is punishable by a fine from $300 – $500, a maximum jail term of 15 days, and a 90-day suspension. Penalties for DWI convictions become more severe for subsequent convictions. For example, a third DWAI conviction in 10 years can entail a fine ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, a 4 year jail sentence, and a minimum one year revocation. A BAC of 0.18% is deemed to be aggravated DWI (“DWI AGG”), and the penalty for a first violation is a fine of $1,000 to $2,500, a maximum jail term of 1 year, and a minimum revocation for one year. A third AGG-DWI conviction in ten years requires a minimum fine from $2,000 to $10,000, a minimum jail term of seven years, and license revocation for at least 18 months.
This blog does not have enough space to discuss the many subtleties in the scheme of punishment for DWI and DWAI violations. Anyone facing allegations of having committed such a crime may find a conference with an experienced criminal defense attorneys. Such a lawyer can provide a helpful evaluation of the facts and the governing laws and an estimate of the probability of obtaining a favorable plea bargain or an outright acquittal.
Source: New York Department of Motor Vehicles, “Penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations,” accessed on Dec. 4, 2015