Pouring a Shot

DWI DEFENSE

Have you or a loved one been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol? If so, you need to take immediate action and seek highly skilled legal representation in order to protect yourself, your rights, and your driving privilege

New York takes drunk driving cases very seriously and the penalties associated with conviction are steep. You can expect to face two kinds of proceedings in connection to your DWI case: criminal proceedings and administrative proceedings. (Put simply administrative proceedings are proceedings conducted before an administrative law judge involving the regulatory or rule-making powers of certain government agencies.)

The State (the prosecution) will bring criminal charges against you and you will either be cleared of the charges or convicted and penalized. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will bring forth Administrative claims against your driving privileges in specialized hearings, where it will be decided if your license will be suspended or revoked and/or if a conditional license is appropriate.

The DWI laws in New York are divided into several different categories with distinct penalties. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, the charges against you will be classified as a traffic infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. The main difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is length of incarceration, associated monetary penalties, and length of probationary periods. A misdemeanor conviction may result in up to one year in county jail, while a felony conviction could lead to a sentence of a year or more in state prison.

First time offenses carry lower penalties that repeat offenders. Any prior drunk driving related convictions will enhance the charges against you and the penalties you are facing will be more severe.

What are the different types of Alcohol and Drug Related Violations in New York (based off Vehicle and Traffic Law)?

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
    .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher or other evidence of intoxication. For drivers of commercial motor vehicles:  .04 BAC or other evidence of intoxication.

  • Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI) .18 BAC or higher

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol) More than .05 BAC but less than .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug)

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination)

  • Chemical Test Refusal- A driver who refuses to take a chemical test (normally a test of breath, blood, or urine).

  • Zero Tolerance Law - A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a .02 BAC to .07 BAC violates the Zero Tolerance Law.

What are the penalties for Drug and/or Alcohol Related Violations?

DRIVING WHILE ABILITY IMPAIRED (DWAI) VTL 1192.1

Blood Alcohol Content [BAC] more than .05% up to .07%, or can be charged if no chemical test conducted but there are "common law" signs of intoxication. For example, bloodshot red eyes, slurred speech, unsteady gait.

First offense:

  • Fines: Between $300-$500 fine (conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims assistance fee

  • Jail Sentence: Up to 15 days

  • License Suspension: 90-day Suspension

  • Record: Considered a traffic infraction and not a crime

 
Second Offense (Within 5 years of the first):

  • Fines: Between $500-$750 fine (conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims assistance fee

  • Jail Sentence: Up to 30 days

  • License Suspension: Minimum 6-Month Revocation

  • Appears on your criminal record as a traffic infraction and not a crime.

DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED BY COMBINED ALCOHOL & DRUGS
DWAI-Combination

First Offense:

  • Fines: Between $500-$1000 fine (conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims assistance fee

  • Jail Sentence: Up to 1 year

  • License Suspension: Minimum 6-Month Revocation

  • Appears on your Criminal Record as a Misdemeanor 

Second Offense (within 10 years of first offense):

  • Fines: Between $1000-$5000 fine (conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims assistance fee

  • Jail Sentence: Up to 4 years

  • License Suspension: Minimum 1-Year Revocation

  • Appears on your criminal record as a Class E Felony

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED OR DRIVING WHILE ABILITY IMPAIRED BY A DRUG
DWI (.08 and higher Blood Alcohol Content [BAC]) or DWAI-Drug

First Offense:

  • Fines: Between $500-$1000 fine (conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims assistance fee

  • Jail Sentence: Up to 1 year

  • License Suspension: Minimum 6-Month Revocation (DWI); Minimum 6-Month Suspension (DWAI-D)

  • Appears on your Criminal Record as a Misdemeanor

Second Offense (within 10 years of first offense):

  • Fines: Between $1000-$5000 fine (conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims assistance fee

  • Jail Sentence: Up to 4 years (DWI & DWAI-D); minimum 5 days jail or 30 days of community service (for DWI within prior 5 years)

  • License Suspension: Minimum 1-Year Revocation

  • Appears on your Criminal Record as a Class E Felony

AGGRAVATED DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED
AGG-DWI (0.18 and higher Blood Alcohol Content [BAC])

First Offense:

  • Fines: Between $1000-$2500 fine (conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims assistance fee

  • Jail Sentence: Up to 1 year

  • License Suspension: Minimum 1-Year Revocation

  • Appears on your Criminal Record as a Misdemeanor

Second Offense (within 10 years of first offense):

  • Fines: Between $1000-$5000 fine (conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims assistance fee

  • Jail Sentence: Up to 4 years

  • License Suspension: Minimum 18-Month Revocation

  • Appears on your Criminal Record as a Class E Felony

The Department of Motor Vehicles determines when your license can be returned. Its return or reinstatement based on state law or regulation, is not automatic. You must reapply for your license and may have to pass a test.

NOTE: License actions for those under age 21 are different

Can you fight a DWI charge in New York?

Although DWI cases can be fairly straightforward, the defenses for a DWI case can be very technical and complex. The most common defenses include:

  • challenging the traffic stop (improper stop, police did not have a legal basis to pull you over)

  • Suppressing evidence that was obtained illegally (gathered in violation of your constitutional rights)which includes statements, blood alcohol level results, confessions

  • Identifying flaws in the chemical testing procedure such as faulty equipment, or expired calibration standards for the Intoxilyzer

  • Providing witnesses to prove you were not driving or to prove you were not drunk

It is important that your lawyer timely request and reviews all the evidence connected to your case, especially the police Bodyworn cameras and Dashcam footage. This video footage can help a trained lawyer determine your best defense and strategy overall. 

Why Hire Us?

Led by a former prosecutor, our DWI defense team incorporates experience and skills learned from prosecuting hundreds of DWI cases in New York. Harary Law prides itself on the well-established relationships it has developed with the leading treatment facilities (TASC approved) in New York- which helps our clients comply with court mandates in a timely fashion. We review every piece of evidence and have an understanding of the common strategies used by the prosecution. Our hope is to clean your slate, mitigate the criminal ramifications, and help make you whole again.