DWI convictions carry high cost in New York

Everyone knows that driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. Some do not realize, however, that a conviction for even one DWI can be extremely expensive, even in cases that involve neither injuries nor property damage.

Initial costs

Even before a conviction, the costs begin to add up. Generally, a person arrested for DWI will have to pay both for the towing and impounding of his vehicle, as well as bail. In New York, drivers who are arrested for DWI have their licenses suspended temporarily while their cases are pending. This means that it is often times necessary for those facing DWI charges to make alternative arrangements for travel to work, which can add even more costs. Even in cases where courts are willing to grant arrestees with hardship licenses, the process may require court appearances and time off work.

Costs of conviction

Upon conviction for a first DWI offense in New York, offenders face a fine of between $500 and $1000 and possible jail time of up to one year. In addition, the law requires that those convicted of DWI have their licenses suspended for at least six months. In some cases, DWI offenders may be eligible for the state's Drinking Driver Program. Those who participate in the DDP and complete the program are eligible to apply for a new driver's license. The cost of this program is, however, the responsibility of the participant, not the state.

In addition, drivers convicted of DWI in New York may be required to attend a Victim Impact Panel and to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. These costs of installing, reading and calibrating these devices are the responsibility of the driver.

Perhaps one of the most significant costs for those convicted of DWI is car insurance. Offenders typically face thousands of dollars in additional insurance fees in the years following conviction. Furthermore, many insurance companies, particularly those that offer low cost insurance, will not write policies for those who have been convicted for DWI.

Overall, experts estimate that the total cost of a single DWI conviction in New York is approximately $9,500. For those who have been arrested with a particularly high blood alcohol content or for those who have been convicted of DWI multiple times, the average cost is significantly higher.

Those who are facing DWI charges should consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn more about their options and how best to fight a conviction.