Although the term DUI is often used interchangeably with DWI in New York, DUI charges do not actually exist in the state of New York. Typically, in states that make a legal distinction, the difference is that a DWI is when the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded the legal limit, which is currently 0.08% in New York A DUI is when a driver’s BAC does not exceed the legal limit, but the driver is still intoxicated due to the use of drugs or alcohol.
In New York, instead of DUIs, drivers with a BAC that does not exceed the legal limit are charged with a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired). You can be charged with a DWAI if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.07%. Anything greater than this will result in a DWI charge. Additionally, note that there are two different types of DWAIs: DWAI-Drugs and DWAI-Alcohol, the former being when the driver is under the influence of drugs, the latter when the driver is under the influence of alcohol.
Penalties for DWIs and DWAIs
The penalties for DWIs and DWAIs vary greatly, depending on the situation. A first-time DWAI-Alcohol conviction will result in a $300-$500 penalty, a maximum jail time of 15 days, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension of 90 days. However, if a driver is convicted of a DWAI-Drugs, the penalties are more severe. A first-time DWAI-Drugs conviction will entail a $500-$1000 penalty, up to a year in prison, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least 6 months. These are identical charges to a first-time DWI conviction, except that a DWI conviction results in a 6-month driver’s license revocation. Additionally, any driver convicted of a DWI in New York will have to install an interlock ignition device on their car. This device is a Breathalyzer, which the driver must blow into before the car will start, and if any alcohol is detected, the car will not start.
In addition, subsequent offenses will result in increased penalties, and, under the Zero Tolerance Law, if the driver is under 21, he or she will likely lose his or her license until he or she turns 21. On top of this, there can be unique penalties if a driver is under the influence of both drugs and alcohol or if the intoxicated individual was driving aggressively along with other complicated guidelines.
Call Us Today
Because of the complicated nature of these laws, it is important to have a good DWI lawyer who has experience representing individuals in DWI and DWAI cases. Call me, Jason Steinberger, at 646-256-1007 and I will be happy to discuss your case with you. I have worked on hundreds of DWI and DWAI cases, and will gladly provide you with a free consultation to inform you of your initial options. You can call me day or night, 24/7.