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DWI First Offense

Because charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York can happen after you make a simple mistake, many perfectly upstanding people in the state can quickly find themselves under arrest and facing serious consequences.

Depending on the exact nature of your arrest, though, these penalties can vary. Talking to a DWI-defense attorney at Young and Young is the best way to know what you will be up against.

Different BAC Levels Determine Severity of DWI Charge

In New York, the severity of a DWI charge depends largely on your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest. Relatively low BAC levels lead to charges not for DWI, but for DWAI (driving while alcohol impaired). High BAC levels, on the other hand, lead to charged for aggravated DWI, which are more severe. You can also be charged with aggravated DWI if you were driving while intoxicated and there was a passenger in your car aged 15 or under.

The BAC levels for each type of charge are:

  • DWAI: Any BAC level that creates any extent of driving impairment
  • DWI: BAC of 0.08% to 0.18%
  • Aggravated DWI: BAC of 0.18% or higher

First Offense Charges for DWAI

The least severe type of drunk driving offense that you can be charged with is for a first offense of DWAI. If you were only intoxicated by alcohol, not drugs, DWAI is a traffic infraction, not a criminal charge, because of the relatively light repercussions that come with a conviction.

Penalties for a first offense of DWAI include:

  • A fine of between $300 and $500
  • Up to 15 days in jail, though there is no required minimum sentence
  • A license suspension of at least 90 days, though you will likely be eligible for a conditional license
  • Your attendance at a victim impact panel for drunk driving
  • Court fees of approximately $250
  • SR-22 insurance requirement

First Offense Charges for DWI

If you had a BAC over the legal limit of 0.08% when you were pulled over and arrested, you will likely face DWI charges. While DWAI accusations are traffic infractions, first-offense DWI charges are misdemeanors that carry the following penalties on conviction:

  • A fine of between $500 and $1,000
  • Up to one year in jail, though there is still no required minimum sentence
  • A license suspension of at least six months, though you may be eligible for a conditional license
  • The installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle
  • Your attendance at a victim impact panel for drunk driving
  • Court fees of approximately $400
  • Three years of probation
  • SR-22 insurance requirement

First Offense Charges for Aggravated DWI

If you had a BAC over 0.18% or were arrested for drunk driving while there was a child under the age of 15 in your car, you will likely face a charge of aggravated DWI. These are misdemeanor charges, and carry the following penalties if you get convicted:

  • A fine of between $1,000 and $2,500
  • Up to one year in jail, though there is still no required minimum sentence
  • A license suspension of at least one year, though you may still be eligible for a conditional license
  • The installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle
  • Attending a victim impact panel for DWI
  • Court fees of around $400
  • Three years of probation
  • SR-22 insurance requirement

New York's Implied Consent Law

Because New York's DWI laws rely on BAC evidence, New York also has an implied consent law that is meant to deter people from refusing to provide a breath or blood sample when a police officer lawfully requests one.

If you refuse to provide a breath or blood sample after being pulled over on suspicion for DWI, your license will automatically be suspended for one year and you will be fined $500.

Legal Defenses for First Offense DWI Charges

There are a handful of defenses that your DWI-defense attorney can raise if you have been accused of breaking New York's DWI laws for the first time. These include:

  • Illegal traffic stop. Police need to have probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed to pull you over. If they do not have this, then any evidence they find during the stop will be excluded from court.
  • Miscalibrated machines. Breath and blood testing devices need to be calibrated or they lose accuracy.
  • Poorly administered tests. If police do not administer breathalyzer or field sobriety tests correctly, evidence they create can be excluded, as well.

DWI-Defense at Young and Young

The attorneys at Young and Young defend clients in New York against DWI charges. Contact us online or call us at (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.

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