Review of the Latest Laws and Penalties for Drunk Driving in New York
New York has some of the toughest anti-drunk driving laws in the nation.
One of the measures used to check incidences of drunk driving is the sobriety checkpoint. These roadblocks and random stop-and-searches were challenged as being unconstitutional, but overturned by the Supreme Court. A DWI checkpoint is said to be the exemption to the rule – but not all states believe so and have outlawed the practice.
As much as it may hamper traffic, New York aims to make it much harder for DWI/DUI offenders to escape notice. And when caught, the penalties are often severe.
New York also has Implied Consent statutes in place that penalize refusal to submit to sobriety and blood alcohol testing. Refusing the Chemical Test imposes immediate revocation of the license for 1 and the case will still be tried anyway.
Minors caught drunk driving are subject to a Zero-Tolerance policy. Their license may be pulled for at least 1 year or until they turn 21, whichever is longer. Those who sold or provided them with alcohol can also be held responsible.
To be charged with Driving While Intoxicated, the state uses your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The BAC limit varies for different types of drivers.
> For anyone 21 and above, the legal limit is a BAC of 0.08%.
> For driving a commercial vehicle, the limit is 0.04%.
> For minors below the age of 21, the limit is 0.02%
Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol) is to drive with BAC of greater than 0.04% but less than 0.08%. It is a crime, but merely a traffic infraction.
Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (DWAI/Drugs) has the exact same penalties as Driving While Intoxicated. Driving While Ability Impaired by both Drugs and Alcohol (DWAI/Combination) is more dangerous than either due to the compounding effects on the body.
Aggravated Drunk Driving (A- DWI) is to drive with 0.18% BAC.
Drunk Driving is a Felony
Only the first offense of DWI/DWAI is a Misdemeanor. New York classifies all other charges as serious crimes – starting with a Class E felony. The charge can increase depending on what else is involved in the arrest, such as if you had minors in the car, if you injured anyone in an accident, or if the drugs that are affecting you are illegal substances.
Driving While Ability Impaired only becomes a Misdemeanor on the third conviction.
Being convicted of DWI may have you suffer the penalties of being a convicted felon, even if the sentence is commuted or served — which may include disenfranchisement, being forbidden to own firearms, ineligibility for welfare, deportation and exclusion of certain licenses to travel or legally operate a business.