Within all states, you will find a different degree of severity placed on DUI/DWI laws, with all states taking high priority in removing the instance of drunk driving on the roadways. New York DUI/DWI laws are no different, each focused on preventing drunken driving incidents from taking the toll on those who are innocent within the state. So many times, the injuries and death is sustained by innocent drivers or passengers who had no crime in the matter but choosing the wrong time to pass the intersection, take a stroll through the neighborhood, or go to the store for a late night snack.

  • 1/3 of all fatalities in New York are related to impaired or intoxicated pedestrians and drivers
  • Your risks of crashing rise as you become more and more intoxicated, with just a small amount impairing your judgment to a degree. With a BAC at 0.08%, you have four times as much risk of getting into an accident; while you are 25 times more likely to crash with a BAC of 0.16%.
  • Drivers under 21 have a 3 time more likely chance of an accident involving alcohol.
If you think these facts seem to be exaggeration, they aren't – drunk driving incidents take lives, and most times not that of those who have broken the law and chose to drink and drive in New York.

DUI/DWI Crimes in New York

If you are caught driving under the influence in New York, you are no longer dealing with traffic court proceedings. These types of charges are criminal charges, yet still have severe ramifications against your driver's license. So, if you get a DUI or DWI in NY, you are going to see a criminal judge and be charged as a criminal. The following crimes fall in line with the DUI/DWI laws of New York:

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): Any driver with a BAC 0.08% or higher or are seemingly impaired noted by visible evidence, will be charged with a DWI.
  • Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) by Alcohol: Any driver with a BAC level less than 0.08% can still be impaired. Even though you aren't considered to be over the limit, with a BAC of 0.05% and 0.07% can be charged with a DWAI if there is visible evidence of impairment.
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (DWAI/Drugs) other than Alcohol: While alcohol can severely limit your ability to drive, drugs can be just as dangerous. If you are impaired by any intoxicating substance – even prescription medications – while driving, you can be charged with this crime.
  • Refusal of Chemical Test: New York enforces the Implied Consent law, which means that acceptance of your license is also acceptance to submit to any type of chemical testing required by law enforcement if you are stopped on the roadways. If you refuse testing, you can be charged with this crime – even if you aren't intoxicated at all. Your license could be revoked for this crime, with a $350 civil penalty also charged.
  • Zero Tolerance Law: If you are under the age of 21, you aren't a legal drinker, and the law follows this guideline. If you have a BAC level of 0.02% or higher, you are guilty of breaking this law and can be charged and convicted for drinking and driving.
** Always remember that just because your BAC level hasn't reached the level indicated by the law as over the limit and dangerous, if you show impairment when officers stop you, you can still be charged with the crime – meaning the same penalties and conviction in court.

DUI and DWI Penalties in New York

When you are convicted of any of the above mentioned crimes, the penalties can be quite severe. In fact, the loss of your license is very possible and high fees can be just a small cost of your crimes. The penalties enforced are so that those who are thinking of driving after having just a small amount of alcohol think twice before getting behind the wheel. Only one DUI/DWI conviction in New York can cause your insurance to raise significantly, your license to be suspended or revoked, and many other penalties that could be quite harsh.

  • 1st DUI/DWI: Misdemeanor; Fine between $500 and $1,000; jail up to 1 year; minimum 6 month license revocation.
  • 2nd DUI/DWI within 10 year period: Felony; Fine between $1,000 and $5,000; jail up to 4 years; minimum 1 year license revocation.
  • 3rd DUI/DWI within 10 year period: Felony; Fine between $2,000 and $10,000; jail up to 7 years; minimum 1 year license revocation.
There are other costs and fees that apply to the fines you see, with conviction surcharges mandatory for each individual convicted of one of the DUI/DWI charges, crime victims assistance fees, and others adding up to hundreds more in fines and fees for penalties.

If you obtain a 2nd and/or 3rd DUI/DWI conviction within 5 years of the first you obtain can be a great deal more severe than if obtained within the 10 year period, with a death, injury, and/or crash increasing penalties severely.

The DMV also assesses its own Driver Responsibility Program fees to those mandated by the courts, which means that you are going to get penalties compounded onto other penalties for a DUI/DWI charge in New York. $250 will be assessed each year for 3 consecutive years based on the program each time you obtain a DUI/DWI charge.

Avoid New York DWI Charge

The best thing to do if you are attempting to avoid a DWI charge in New York is to not get behind the wheel even if you don't feel intoxicated, yet drank and alcoholic beverage or consumed another intoxicating chemical – including prescription medication given to you by a doctor. If you are impaired, your judgment is off – which means that you are putting other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers at risk that shouldn't be.

If you can't find a ride, pay for one. Taxi cabs populate the state as one of the largest sources of transportation, with other public transportation offered as well. If a family member or friend agrees to drive you home, make sure they haven't been drinking or aren't intoxicated either as the risk is the same, no matter who is behind the wheel.

If you think you can sober up and drive – think again. There is no sobering up and you will be persecuted if found drinking with a BAC level even at 0.05%, regardless of the impairment and intoxication that you feel. Only several hours will reduce your intoxication and blood alcohol level, so the best thing to do is stay immobilized until you have rested at least 8 hours – or you will likely spend that time in jail if caught driving under the influence by police.

  • The New York DMV offers great resources about drinking and driving, including “You and the Drinking Driving Laws” brochure, which can be obtained online for web viewing. This brochure provides all the drinking and driving laws, the penalties, the programs, and the devices that could be attached to your vehicle to prevent you from getting behind the wheel intoxicated during your punishment period. You will also find out what applies to different types of drivers in New York when they obtain a DWI.