Being arrested for a crime in New York is worrying. Whether you’re facing your first Driving While Under the Influence (DWI) charge or you’re facing prosecution for multiple DWIs, it is crucial to understand the New York DWI process. Clients who hire the DWI attorneys at CDH Law in Syracuse immediately experience the personal attention and skilled representation our law firm offers. The attorneys at our veteran-owned, results-oriented criminal defense law firm will put our experience to work on your behalf. With decades of combined legal experience, no issue is too routine or too serious for our skilled DWI attorneys.
What Constitutes a DWI in New York? What Does DWAI Mean?
In New York, a DWI criminal charge is a misdemeanor offense. Those convicted can face significant legal consequences to include jail time of up to a year and substantial fines. In New York, someone can be charged with DWI or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). These two different terms can be confusing. The critical difference between them depends on how much alcohol content is found in someone’s blood when they are pulled over.
If a driver’s blood alcohol content is between .05 and .07 percent while driving, they have committed a DWAI. If the driver’s blood alcohol content is at or higher than .08 percent, that driver committed a DWI. Since a DWI charge corresponds with a higher blood alcohol percentage, the legal consequences are more severe than with a DWAI charge. A first-time DWI conviction comes with a fine of up to $500, as many as 15 days in jail and a three-month suspension of the driver’s license.
What Are The Consequences of Multiple DWIs in New York?
The consequences for a first time DWI or DWAI Conviction are serious. If you’re facing a second DWI or DWAI charge, the implications become even more severe. If you have a DWI conviction on your record and you commit a second DWI, the prosecution will likely elevate the charge to a felony DWI.
- New York prosecutors may bring a felony DWI charge against a defendant under the following circumstances:
- The defendant was impaired or intoxicated and drove with a passenger aged 16 or less in the vehicle
- The defendant received a prior DWI conviction within the past ten years
- As a result of impaired driving, the defendant caused death or a severe physical injury to another person
- The defendant operated a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license when the DWI conviction resulted in the license suspension
The penalties for a second DWI charge are even more severe and can include the following:
- Up to seven years of jail time
- A fine of up to $10,000
- A minimum mandatory 18-month revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license
What Happens If My First DWI Or DWAI Conviction Involved Drugs?
Let’s say your first DWI conviction happened within the last ten years, and it involved the use of drugs or the use of drugs and alcohol. You will face more significant consequences for your current DWI charge. If convicted the second time, the court will suspend your driver’s license for a full year. You will also face a $1,000 to $5,000 fine or a jail term of up to four years. You may face a maximum of a four-year jail sentence and a $5,000 fine depending on the preferences of the judge presiding over your case.
Perhaps your second DWI or DWAI offense is a misdemeanor that happened within the past ten years, and it involved drugs or both drugs and alcohol. You will now face up to a year in jail, a $500-$1000 fine or both. Additionally, the court will suspend your driver’s license for at least one year.
If your second DWAI conviction did not involve the use of drugs and only involved the use of alcohol, you will face less severe consequences. When your first DWAI conviction happened within five years of your second incident, you will face up to 30 days in jail, a $500-$700 fine or both. You can also anticipate that the judge will suspend your driver’s license for no less than six months.
Mutliple DWIs: Mandatory installation of Ignition Interlock Devices And Alcohol Assessments
It is important to note there are mandatory consequences for multiple DWIs. If a court convicts you of a second DWI offense within ten years, the judge must impose inevitable consequences upon you as required by New York law.
The first condition is the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). If you receive a conviction of a second DWI, a judge will require you to have one of these devices installed on your vehicle. An IID is commonly known as a breathalyzer. The machine connects to the ignition system in your car. When properly installed, the engine of your vehicle will not start unless a person breathes into your IID with breath that is free of alcohol. Drivers required to use an IID machine must pay for the expense themselves. These machines usually cost between $50 and $150 and require monthly maintenance, monitoring and lease fees of around $50 to $150.
Judges are additionally required to order those convicted of a second DWI to take part in an alcohol assessment. In this initial screening, an alcohol treatment professional uses a written standardized screening test to help determine whether you are dependent on or abusing alcohol or drugs. If the screening results indicate a dependence on drugs or alcohol, you must undergo a mandatory assessment. You’ll receive your results within 30 days of the assessment. If the assessment recommends that you receive treatment, the law mandates the judge to require treatment in your probation, sentence, or your conditional discharge.
Contact Our Syracuse & Central New York Multiple DWIs Attorney
As you can see, the law involving multiple DWIs or DWAI convictions is complicated. If you’re facing your second or third DWI or DWAI within ten years, you are facing up to seven years of jail time. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending clients against multiple DWIs. Don’t let one wrong decision lead to significant fines and jail times. We assertively represent our clients so that they have the best chance of defeating their DWI charge. If you’re in central New York, don’t delay, contact CDH Law to schedule your initial consultation today.