SUMMARY OF NEW YORK DWI LAWS
 
   

Generally

A defendant convicted of any violation of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law §1192 will face adverse consequences to his drivers license, a fine, increased insurance rates for several years, and a record with the Department of Criminal Justice Services for life. In addition, the defendant faces the possibility of incarceration, the length of which depends on the charge. While incarceration is more probable in misdemeanor and felony convictions than with a criminal violation of §1192(1) (more colloquially referred to as Driving While Ability Impaired) even though that charge carries with it up to 15 to 30 days incarceration. New York laws in this area are subject to frequent change and we ask that you call for an appointment to discuss what penalties you might presently face.

Suspension Pending Prosecution

In New York, a drivers license is suspended at the time of arraignment while a criminal prosecution is pending. This means that a driver loses some, and possibly all, of his driving privileges merely by being charged with violating any VTL §1192. It is, however, possible to retain some driving privileges by aggressively seeking a hardship conditional driving privilege or, if eligible for the drinker driver program, a conditional license. Suspension and Revocation upon Refusal.

In New York, after a defendant is arrested for any violation of VTL §1192,
the driver is read a warning of the consequences of a refusal and is directed to submit to a chemical test. If the driver refuses to submit to a chemical test
his license is suspended and operating privileges are revoked by the court as
directed by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The privileges are suspended regardless of whether the defendant is found guilty of the charge that he faces. The driver is given notice of a Department of Motor Vehicles "safety" hearing within fifteen days of the arraignment. If it is determined that the driver refused to submit to a chemical test, was given the proper warnings, was lawfully arrested for violating §1192, then driving privileges are revoked for six months by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The driver still faces the sanctions for violating the section of §1192 that he is facing. (See those sections)

Operators Under 21

If a driver is under the age of 21 and is convicted of any violation of §1192
he can be face sanctions including a one year revocation. For repeat
offenders under the age of 21 the license will be revoked for a year or until the driver reaches the age of 21. In addition, if the driver is not charged with
driving while intoxicated or driving while ability impaired, New York has a zero tolerance law for drivers under the age of 21 who have operated a motor vehicle after they have consumed alcohol. If the blood alcohol content is between .02 and .07 of one percent by weight of alcohol he will be found to have consumed alcohol. Civil penalties, license suspension or revocation are possible sanctions that may follow from a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing. A underage driver may be charged with violating the zero tolerance law if he is not charged with driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired.

Infraction -Driving While Ability Impaired, First Offense


Driving While Ability Impaired or DWAI is a violation of VTL §1192(1) and is a traffic infraction. Possible sanctions for a first time offender include up to 15 days in jail, a fine between $300.00 and $500.00, suspension of the drivers license for 90 days, suspension of registration for 90 days, a surcharge of $30.00, attendance at a Victim Impact Panel.

Infraction -Driving While Ability Impaired, Second Offense

For second offenders of Driving While Ability Impaired, sanctions include up to thirty days in jail, a fine of $500.00 to $750.00, revocation of the
drivers license for six months, proof of rehabilitation or favorable alcohol
evaluation before a license is reissued, possible revocation of registration for six months, in addition there are surcharges and attendance at the victim impact panel.

Misdemeanor - Driving While Ability Impaired

A defendant who has two or more prior violations of VTL §1192 within the
preceding ten years and is then charged with driving while ability impaired can be charged with a misdemeanor. This is a criminal charge. A defendant will face a criminal record which can affect future employment, military service, insurance and travel in and out of Canada just to name a few possible repercussions. Possible sanctions include up to 180 days in jail, a fine of $750.00 to $1,500.00, one year of probation, revocation of license for at least six months however the revocation may be enlarged to 18 months by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Addition penalties can include revocation of registration for up to 6 months, a surcharge of $110.00, local court surcharges, victim assistance fees, attendance at a victim impact panel and proof of alcohol rehabilitation, and the defendant may not be eligible for a conditional drivers license.

Misdemeanor - Driving While Intoxicated

This is a criminal charge. A criminal record can affect future employment,
military service, insurance and travel in and out of Canada just to name a few possible repercussions. In addition, sanctions can include incarceration of up to 1 year in jail, a fine of $500.00 to $1,000.00, 3 years probation,
revocation of drivers license for 6 months, revocation of registration for 6 months, a surcharge of $110.00, local court surcharges, victim assistance fees, attendance at a victim impact panel and proof of alcohol rehabilitation, and the defendant may not be eligible for a conditional drivers license.

Misdemeanor - Second Offense of Driving While Intoxicated

Whether a driver is charged with a misdemeanor or as a felony depends on
whether the prior conviction is within 10 years of the new arrest. A driver facing misdemeanor charges faces a possible criminal conviction. A criminal record can affect future employment, military service, insurance and travel in and out of Canada just to name a few possible repercussions. In addition, sanctions can include incarceration of up to 1 year in jail, a fine of $500.00 to $1,000.00, 3 years probation, revocation of drivers license for 1 year, revocation of registration for 1 year, a surcharge of $110.00, local court surcharges, victim assistance fees, attendance at a victim impact panel and proof of alcohol rehabilitation, and the defendant may not be eligible for a conditional drivers license if the prior conviction precedes the new arrest by five years. However, if the second arrest is more than 10 years following the prior conviction the driver may be treated as a first time offender.

Felony Driving While Intoxicated

If a driver faces a second arrest of §1192(2), (3) or (4) within 10 years
following the prior conviction of driving while intoxicated, but not driving
while ability impaired, the driver will face felony charges. A Class E felony
conviction can affect future employment, the ability to vote, the ability to carry a firearm, military service, insurance and travel in and out of Canada just to name a few possible repercussions. In addition, sanctions can include
incarceration of up to 4 years in a state prison, a fine of $1,000.00 to $5,000.00, 5 years probation, revocation of drivers license for 1 year, revocation of registration for 1 year, a surcharge of $200.00, local court surcharges, victim assistance fees, attendance at a victim impact panel and proof of alcohol rehabilitation, and the defendant may not be eligible for a conditional drivers license if the prior conviction precedes the new arrest by five years. If a driver has been convicted of §1192(2), (3) or (4) twice within 10 years, he faces a class D felony, and the sanctions can include incarceration of up to 7 years in a state prison, a fine of $2,000.00 to $10,000.00, 5 years probation, revocation of drivers license for 1 year, while the Department of Motor Vehicles will revoke the license for 18 months, revocation of registration for 1 year, a surcharge of $200.00, local court surcharges, victim assistance fees, attendance at a victim impact panel and proof of alcohol rehabilitation, and the defendant will not be eligible for a conditional drivers license.

Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers, or drivers holding a CDL license, and whether they are
driving a commercial vehicle are determined by specific national standards. The affect of a §1192 conviction depends upon the vehicle being used. A conference is necessary to ascertain the possible sanctions that the driver faces.

 

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