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Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties in New York

New York state takes drunk driving very seriously. The penalties for a DWI conviction can be severe, regardless of whether driver is under or over age 21, a first-time offender or a commercial driver.

Different Penalties Depending on BAC

When a driver's blood alcohol concentration is between 0.05 and 0.07, he or she may be convicted of an offense called driving while ability impaired by alcohol. For a first DWAI conviction, fines range from $300 to $500, and the driver may be sentenced to spend up to 15 days in jail. For drivers over age 21, their driver's licenses may be suspended for 90 days, and for those under 21 t here is a minimum one-year license revocation.

For second and third offenses, fines range from $500 to $1500, and a driver may be ordered to serve 30 to 180 days in jail. Drivers age 21 and older with multiple DWAI convictions will have their licenses revoked for a minimum of six months, while those under 21 will have their licenses revoked for either one year or until they turn 21, whichever is longer.

DWI Penalties

If a driver's BAC is 0.08 or higher, he or she may face DWI charges. If convicted, a first offense carries a fine ranging from $500 to $1000 and a sentence of up to one year in jail. Licenses are revoked for a minimum of six months for drivers age 21 and older and a minimum of one year for those under age 21.

A second or third conviction carries higher penalties. Fines range from $1,000 to $10,000, and jail time may be imposed for up to seven years. The driver's license will be revoked for a minimum of one year for those 21 and older. For drivers under age 21, licenses will be revoked for one year or until the person reaches age 21, whichever occurs first. If a driver has a BAC of 0.18 or higher, he or she may be subject to charges of aggravated drunk driving, for which the penalties may be even stiffer.

Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers are held to stricter standards. If they are convicted of DWI, DWAI or have a 0.04 BAC, their license will be revoked for a minimum of one year, and commercial driver's licenses are permanently revoked following a second or third conviction. In some cases, following a second conviction, a commercial driver may have his or her license reinstated after 10 years.

Protect Your Rights

Those accused of drunk driving are entitled to a fair legal process. Anyone facing drunk driving charges should contact an experienced DWI defense lawyer to help navigate the legal system and ensure their legal rights are protected.