NY DWI: Defined & Explained By An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) has become a very serious offense as most states, including New York, have taken an extremely aggressive stance on crimes involving the use of alcohol or drugs while driving motor vehicles. Here are the facts on DWI in New York from Elliot Schlissel, a New York DWI lawyer whose firm has represented clients in New York, Nassau, Suffolk and surrounding counties for over 30 years.

How does New York State deal with DWI?

New York has an extremely aggressive stance on crimes involving the use of alcohol or drugs while driving motor vehicles, according to Schlissel, who told us:

Those crimes are vigorously enforced, resulting in penalties of incarceration, loss of one’s license for considerable periods of time, putting interlock devices where you have to breathe into a device in your car before you can start the ignition, putting individuals on probation or forcing them into alcohol related programs, subjecting them to large fines and the possible forfeiture of their car.

The laws regarding Driving While Intoxicated in New York have had a metamorphosis – going from being very lenient 25 and 30 years ago to being virtually Draconian in some respects and in some counties today.

Having more than one drink may be very dangerous

What is the legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) in New York? According to Schlissel, for Driving While Intoxicated, it is .08; for Driving While Impaired, it is .06 – and that is very low. “An example of that would be no more than one beer, or one drink, for the average male. For a small female who is 100 pounds, it may be that they could only have three quarters of a drink or three quarters of a beer. Most people have no idea how little alcohol they can really consume before they are exposing themselves to great liability and risk.”

DWI may mean jail time and hefty fines

The consequences of a New York drunk driving charge may be jail time and hefty fines. Schlissel explained those consequences for a first and second DWI charge:

A first DWI is a misdemeanor conviction with possible jail time of up to one year, loss of your license for up to six months and fines of up to $1,000. Your car may also be subject to forfeiture. For a second conviction, it depends on whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged with a felony, one could end up receiving several years in prison as well as a fine of $1,000 and loss of driving privileges in the State of New York.

If you’ve been arrested on DWI charge, contact an experienced New York DWI lawyer to discuss your situation, evaluate your options or answer any New York DWI questions you might have. Initial consultations are free of charge.

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