If you have been charged under New York DWI laws, as your attorney, I will zealously represent you to get the best resolution possible and make sure everything goes smoothly. In addition to DWI, I handle speeding tickets, other traffic tickets, and other criminal charges in Rochester, New York, and nearby towns and counties.
DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated, which is either a specific numerical blood alcohol content (BAC) result of 0.08 or higher (V&T Law §1192(2)), or a general notion that you are intoxicated, proven by testimony and other evidence of the nature of your impairment (V&T Law §1192(3)). A first DWI is a misdemeanor, while a second DWI is a felony.
DWAI stands for Driving While Ability Impaired (V&T Law §1192(1)), and is generally considered to be when the BAC result is higher than 0.05 but below 0.08, though it is actually not that simple, since District Attorney’s offices may charge you with a statutory misdemeanor DWI despite a lower BAC than required for BAC misdemeanor DWI.
New York State added a new offense early in 1997, called Aggravated DWI, which is where the BAC is 0.18 or above.
Felony DWI charges in New York generally happen when the defendant has a previous DWI conviction within the past 10 years. While there are other circumstances that can lead to felony charges involving a DWI, this is the most common. Another example would be where the DWI itself is a misdemeanor but the driver is charged with some other felony, like vehicular manslaughter if someone is killed.
Under V&T Law §1193, first and second convictions for DWAI are violations – they are not crimes, and you will not have a criminal record for a violation. A third DWAI is a misdemeanor. While a DWAI conviction is not criminal, the penalties are still rather harsh. The defendant convicted of DWAI will face substantial fines, assessments, surcharges and fees, easily exceeding $1,000 and potentially approaching $2,000. A first-time DWAI offense will also lead to license suspension, typically for 90 days. Another big impact is the likely increase in insurance rates, which will cost the typical DWAI defendant well over $1,000 in increased insurance premiums. Finally, a DWAI violation stays on your driving record for at least 10 years, and will also generally show up on a criminal history check for the rest of your life.