The DWI Penalties for First Offense and Higher

In this article, we will discuss the criminal and administrative penalties for the New York State first-offense DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), and further. Primarily, the penalties for DWI offenses may vary based on the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) results. Sometimes, the first-offense DWI may be higher for drivers on having a concentration of 0.18% or more, which is termed as aggravated DWI. Similarly, there are numerous circumstances which affect the penalties on DWI like the driver's age, whether any third person got injured, whether there was minor in the car, or whether the drunken driven operating a commercial vehicle, etc.

The New York state DWI offense classifications:

  • Substantial DWI: BAC of .08% or higher for the private vehicle drivers and .04% or higher for the commercial vehicle drivers. It is considered as impaired to a substantial extent.
  • Aggravated DWI: Blood alcohol concentration of .18% and higher or while driving intoxicated with 15 years or lesser aged passengers on board.
  • Alcohol DWAI: It is driving while ability impaired (DWAI), which is the ability to drive a vehicle as a prudent driver getting impaired with alcohol.
  • Drug DWAI: Similar to above, impaired driving ability with the use of drugs.
  • Combination DWAI: This is the ability to be a prudent and reasonable driver getting impaired to any extent by drug and alcohol combination.

Penalties (administrative)

For the first offense in DWI, which is also known as DUI (driving under the influence), the driver having a BAC of .08% or above (up to.18%) may suffer a license suspension for six months. The suspension may be of one year in case of the BAC is above .18% for the drivers under age 21 years. The first offenders who may violate the New York’s law of implied consent by refusing to undergo chemical testing for BAC may typically have a license suspension for a year.

The license reinstatement after it will require paying the specific reinstatement fees, and the sentence may also include installing an ignition interlock device on the vehicle for six months during the probation after the penalty. If an application, the offenders need to undergo the Impaired Driver Program also, which was previously known as the Drinking Driver Program.

Penalties (criminal)

For the offenders charged with the first-time DWI in New York State, there is no minimum jail time, but sometimes it is also possible to get jail sentence up to one year if serious offenses are charged. All the DWI or DUI convictions including the first offenses may also require the mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices. The general fine for first-time offenders may range from $500 to $1,000 for BAC of .08% and it may be $1,000 to $2,500 if the BAC is .18% or more. Based on the situations, a DWI conviction may stay on the criminal records and administrative penalty record for 5, 10, or up to 25 years.

The DWAI offenses

DWAI is another variation of a DWI offense, and the major difference between these offenses is on the level of impairment of the driver while operating a vehicle. The driver may be convicted under DWAI if the driving ability is "reasonable and prudent." To be convicted of DWI based on impairment level, one should be impaired to a substantial extent.

When compared to DWI, Suffolk County DWI Lawyer says that the penalties for DWAI are comparatively lesser. As in the case of minor DWI, there is no jail time for DWAI conviction. In fact, in some cases based on the severity of impairment the maximum jail sentence could be 15 days against DWI’s one year. Criminal penalty for DWAI may be from $300 to $500. There can also be license suspension for about 90 days.

For commercial drivers

The commercial driving license holders shouldn’t operate their vehicles with BAC of more than 0.04%. Doing this will end up in severe penalties than the passenger vehicle drivers. There is also a chance for permanent license revocation for commercial vehicle license holders. It is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which handles the penalties and regulations related to commercial vehicle drivers.

It is best to contact a local DWI lawyer to learn about the New York State DWI/DUI laws. There are even attorneys who focus on DWI as well as DWAI laws in particular. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney handling DWI and DIWAI can consider the particular facts regarding your case and give you the options.

Hiring a DWI Attorney

Most of those who fail in the BAC will end up in the court after convicted with DWI charges. Even if you are planning to plead innocence or to admit being guilty, the best option is to hire a professional DWI lawyer, especially if the DWI charge includes any additional crimes like Aggravated DWAI and or vehicular homicide, etc.

When you search for the DWI lawyer, one should keep these following tips in mind:

  • It is best to choose a local attorney from New York who is familiar with the state laws and have a significant level of experience.
  • Ensure that the attorney is specialized in DWI cases. Experienced DWI lawyers will have expertise on the state's laws related to DWI.
  • You may ask for the lawyer’s portfolio to see information about the past cases they have handled and find out what they have to tell about your specific case, especially in terms of the outcomes.

Even though the DWI offenders may get their license suspended, some drivers may be able to get temporary permits like conditional licenses, which a good DWI lawyer helps you to gain. If eligible for reinstatement of a license, then also a DWI lawyer can help you do it properly.

With many options available to choose for DWI lawyers, the users need to be very careful and diligent in finding the best possible option to minimize the adverse impact of the lawsuit. You may take feedback of many others you know as well as see the rating of the attorneys to identify who offers the most cost-effective services. DWI lawyer services are not cheap; however, if you are getting the right professional to represent you on the court, the money you spend may surely get appropriate returns.

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