The Consequences of a DWI Conviction in New York

The recent arrests of two prominent New Yorkers for DWI have again brought to attention the potential consequences of a DWI conviction. One was the arrest of the wife of Maurice Hinchley, the retiring Congressman from New York’s 22nd District, who was allegedly driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.14 and texting when she rear-ended another vehicle. The other arrest concerned a New York prosecutor who was fired after questions arose regarding whether she received special treatment because of her position.

Individuals who are prominent in the community do face additional scrutiny for their DWI arrests, but everyone faces potentially stiff penalties for a DWI conviction.

First-Time DWI Offense

Anyone arrested for DWI with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher will be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. For drivers over the age of 21, there is a minimum license revocation of 6 months. In addition, the driver will receive a fine of $500 to $1,000 that does not include a mandatory conviction surcharge or crime victim’s assistance fee. Jail time of up to a year is also possible, and or three years probation. A DWI conviction will also raise insurance premiums. Finally, because of Leandra’s Law, passed in 2010, drivers convicted even of a first-time DUI will be required to install an ignition interlock device, which tests the alcohol level of the driver periodically to ensure the driver has not been drinking.

There are more severe penalties if you are convicted of an aggravated DWI (a .18 BAC or above). The license revocation is one year and the maximum fine increases to $2,500. Any driver who is under 21 will face a one-year revocation even if they are convicted of any drinking and driving offense (including DWAI, or better known as an “impaired”).

Second or Subsequent Offense

If a driver gets a second or subsequent DWI within 10 years of the first offense, the penalties ratchet up enormously. The crime increases from a misdemeanor to a felony. Those convicted of a second DWI face up to a $5,000 fine, four years in jail and a minimum 1-year license suspension. For a third offense in 10 years, a DWI conviction carries up to a $10,000 fine, seven years in jail and a 1-year license suspension. On a felony DWI, you can do up to a year in jail and 5 years probation to run consecutive to the jail time.

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