DUI stands for "driving under the influence", which is another way of saying "drunk driving." Some states (such as New York) use the initials DWI, which stands for "driving while intoxicated." The terms generally mean the same thing.

In New York, a person is considered to be driving while intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration is at .08 or higher.

What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI Offense in New York?

A first-time DUI or DWI offense in New York can lead to some significant legal and criminal penalties. These include:

  • Fines: $500 minimum, $1,000 maximum
  • Minimum 6 months license suspension; can be greater than 1 year in some cases
  • Court surcharges
  • Misdemeanor charges

In addition, the first-time DUI offender must complete a Drinking Driver Program. In some cases, the defendant may be granted a conditional license when they complete the program. This usually allows them limited driving privileges, such as to and from work or school.

What about Repeat DUI or DWI Offenses?

Penalties for repeat DWI offenders in New York get more severe with each subsequent DWI charge. For instance, for a 2nd conviction, the fine becomes a $1,000 minimum, with a license suspension for at least one year, and may include up to 4 years of jail time. 3rd convictions receive a $2,000 fine and possible incarceration for up to 7 years. Second and third DWI charges in New York are considered felonies.

What Is an Aggravated DWI Charge?

An aggravated DWI charge in New York may be filed when the driver has a BAC of 0.18 or above. This is a serious charge and can result in up to double the fines of a normal DWI case. The person may also face a mandatory year-long sentence in jail, as well as a minimum of one-year revocation of their driving license.

Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

DWI violations can lead to some serious criminal penalties. Misdemeanor and felony convictions can stay on one’s record for quite some time. It may be possible to have DWI penalties lowered depending on the circumstances. You may need to hire a qualified DUI/DWI lawyer in New York if you need assistance with any DWI issues. Your attorney can help you with your case and can help determine what your options are under New York laws.