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DWI penalties in New York

In the state of New York, there are a number of different charges associated with drunk driving. For example, someone driving with a blood alcohol content of at least .18 percent may be charged with aggravated DWI. Even if a driver's BAC is less than .08 percent, a driver may still be charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol. An impaired driver under the age of 21 could be charged under the Zero Tolerance Law if his or her BAC is between .02 and .07 percent.

The severity of the penalties may depend upon the offense and if the person has prior DWI convictions. For example, someone who was charged with his or her first DWI may face a maximum of one year in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine. A second DWI offense carries a maximum jail sentence of four years and a $5,000 fine. A third offense increases the maximum jail penalty to seven years, and an individual could face up to $10,000 in fines.

A driver who was driving while impaired but had a BAC of .07 percent or lower can face a maximum of 15 days in jail for a first offense, 30 days for a second offense and 180 days for a third offense. Drivers who are under the legal drinking age will not face a jail sentence but will have their driver's license suspended or revoked for at least six months.

The penalties for drunk driving in New York are severe. In some cases, however, a defense attorney could potentially negotiate a plea deal that does not involve a jail sentence or a license suspension for a first offense. The attorney could also challenge the charges if they resulted from an illegal traffic stop.

Source: New York State Department of Motor Vehicles , "Penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations", November 06, 2014

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