What do I need to know if I am arrested for a DWI in New York?

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Michael Greenspan - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Michael Greenspan

Located in White Plains, NYGreenspan & Greenspan, P.C.

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First, know that New York does not take offenses for driving while intoxicated (DWI) lightly. If convicted, even a first-time DWI offender faces serious consequences. You will lose your license for at least six months and pay significant fines. Depending on the situation, you could even serve up to a year in jail. The courts distribute DWI penalties as such: 

  • 1st time offender – six-month revocation of license, mandatory alcohol education, maximum jail sentence of one year, fines between $500 and $1,000
  • 2nd time offender – one-year revocation of license, mandatory alcohol education, one to four years in prison and/or $1,000 to $5,000 fine
  • 3rd time offender – six-year revocation of license, mandatory alcohol education, one to seven years in prison and/or $2,000 to $10,000 fine

The above subsequent offenses are based within a 10-year period following the first offense. For information regarding penalties for a fourth and following DWI offense, contact an experienced New York attorney.

A Zero Tolerance State

Regardless of where you are in New York, the state follows a “zero tolerance” alcohol policy. For those under 21, even a small amount of alcohol is enough to accrue penalties. You will be summoned for a DMV hearing, and, if the judge allows for it, you could face a six-month suspension of your license and a $125 fine.

There May Be Options

If you face driver’s license suspension, it is possible to get a conditional license approval from the court. You must prove, however, that losing your license will create serious hardships for your livelihood or the livelihood of your family. The privilege of a conditional license depends on a few factors.

For instance, you do not qualify if you refused a Breathalyzer at the time of your blood alcohol test. You also do not qualify if a previous DWI conviction exists on your record within the last five years. Those who receive approval for a conditional license must attend New York’s Impaired Driver Program. This is only an option within the first 30 days following your arraignment.

An experienced attorney can help you attain a conditional license. They can also explain the conditions of that license and what you can and cannot do with one. If you face a DWI charge in New York — even if it is only your first charge — it is vital to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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