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Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired

Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired in New York State 

Drunk Driving, Driving While Intoxicated, Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs\Alcohol can affect your career, your finances, and even put your freedom in jeopardy. The potential charges are many below is a list of the various crimes and penalties. 

The attorneys at Young & Associates understand how daunting the whole process can be. They are ready to help guide you through the criminal justice system and make sure you are treated fairly. Understanding the law and knowing your rights are both crucial if you want to make an effective defense. Richard Young a practicing criminal attorney for 25 years and a Retired NYPD Sergeant knows the procedure from both sides and knows how to defend you. Call Young & Associates 24 hours a day Seven Days a Week to see how they can help you. (631) 224-7500

DWAIs, Misdemeanor DWIs, and Felony DWIs

New York has several different drunk driving offenses on the books. The differences between them include your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest, as well as any aggravating factors that were involved in the offense.

DWAIs, or driving while alcohol impaired, is technically a traffic violation, not a crime. DWAIs happen when the arresting officer thinks that you were impaired by alcohol while driving, but your BAC level is still under the legal limit of 0.08%.

If your BAC is at or above 0.08% and you get pulled over and arrested, you will likely get charged with a misdemeanor DWI. However, if you have a prior DWI conviction on your record, it can become a felony charge.

Penalties for First and Subsequent Offenses

DWI offenses are “priorable,” meaning they come with worse penalties for every prior offense you have on your criminal record. In New York, for standard DWIs that have no extenuating or aggravating circumstances, these penalties look like this:




Maximum Jail Time

License Suspension

First offense


$500 - $1,000

1 year

At least six months

Second Offense

Class E felony

$1,000 - $5,000

4 years

At least one year

Third offense

Class D felony

$2,000 - $10,000

7 years

At least one year

If there are aggravating factors, however, these penalties can be worse.

Underage DWI

For drivers under the drinking age of 21, though, DWI is much more stringent: New York's Zero Tolerance law prohibits underage drivers from being on the road with a BAC over 0.02%. If your BAC is over this limit, but beneath 0.08%, you could be charged with a traffic infraction that comes with a fine and a six-month license suspension. If your BAC was between 0.05% and 0.08% and you are under 21, though, prosecutors have the option of pursuing a DWAI (or as it is known outside of New York a DUI) charge, instead.

DWI for Commercial Drivers

Like underage drivers, commercial drivers in New York are also held to a higher standard by our DWI laws: Their legal limit is 0.04% BAC, rather than 0.08%. Importantly, this lower BAC standard applies regardless of what vehicle you are driving. As long as you hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), you need to abide by this lower limit, even if you are driving your personal vehicle.

Drugged Driving

Finally, New York's DWI laws apply to any chemical substance that can impair your driving ability. This includes both alcohol and drugs, even if those drugs were legally obtained and you have a prescription from your doctor.

New York DWI-Defense Lawyers at Young & Associates

If you have been pulled over, arrested, and charged for DWI in New York, call the DWI-defense attorneys at Young & Associates at (631) 224-7500 or contact us online.

Next Steps

If you have been charged with any of these crimes, it is imperative that you begin speaking with an attorney ASAP. Any Attorney is better than none, but we recommend you call Young & Associates because frankly, we are one of the best. Call Young & Associates 24 hours a day Seven Days a Week to see how they can help you. (631) 224-7500.


Over 25 Years Experience

When you've been charged with a DWI or traffic offense, call for an attorney with over 25 years experience who is also a retired New York Police Department Sergeant who knows both sides.