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What are the penalties for drunk driving in New York?

Any New York driver who is charged with drunk driving wants to know what penalties may be in store. New York, like many other states, is going through a process of tightening its laws regulating the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. This post will summarize the current state of the law.

A DWI first offense carries the potential for up to one year of imprisonment, a fine from $500 to $1,000 and license suspension for a minimum of six months. The penalties become more severe for subsequent convictions. A second offense can result in imprisonment for up to four years, a fine from $1,000 to $5,000 and license suspension for at least one year. The third offense can be punished with up to seven years of imprisonment, a fine between $2,000 and $10,000, and license suspension for at least one year.

The standard for intoxication for persons over 21 years of age is a blood alcohol content in excess of 0.08{e7aaffd771c1d72ed73aa4f2b2654701d87584ba154d7edc68255dac3d0c1e84}. For persons younger than 21, the limit is 0.02{e7aaffd771c1d72ed73aa4f2b2654701d87584ba154d7edc68255dac3d0c1e84}. If the blood alcohol content exceeds 0.18{e7aaffd771c1d72ed73aa4f2b2654701d87584ba154d7edc68255dac3d0c1e84}, the driver can be charged with an aggravated DWI with correspondingly heavier penalties. Also, New York law requires every driver charged with a DUI to submit to a blood alcohol test. Refusing the test will automatically result in a one year license suspension for the first offense and an 18-month suspension for any subsequent offense.

Drunken driving is a serious crime in New York. License suspension can disrupt a person’s ability to work, and the consequences of a jail sentence speak for themselves. Any person charged with such a crime should consult an attorney experienced in handling DUI cases. Such a lawyer will be able to evaluate the facts, spot any mistakes by the police that may invalidate the charges and generally formulate a credible defense that will maximize the client’s chances of a verdict of innocence.

Source: Nolo, “New York DWI Laws,” accessed on March 1, 2015