In New York, drunk driving is known as Driving While Intoxicated in New York. Other states call such laws Driving Under the Influence or DUI, Operating Under the Influence or OUI and even Operating While Intoxicated or OWI. In New York, these laws are simply known by the acronym DWI. In New York, DWI crimes range from a traffic infraction, misdemeanor and felony, depending on the facts.
Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), is defined as operating a motor vehicle “while the person’s ability to operate such motor vehicle is impaired by the consumption of alcohol.” Evidence of DWAI may involve cases where a breath or other test results show a BAC of more than .05% and less than .08%. DWAI is not a crime, it is a traffic infraction and does not result in a criminal record. However, unlike many crimes categorized as violations in New York law, DWAI does not deal.
DWI as a misdemeanor crime in New York comes in a few forms. The first is what is called DWI by per se intoxication and involves a chemical test result, by breath or blood, of at least .08% BAC. (BAC of .08% is often referred in error as the illegal limit in New York. It is the illegal floor. BAC of .07999999 to infinity is the illegal limit.) Next, DWI by common law intoxication, which is defined as “operate[ing] a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition,” is charged when a person refuses to submit to a chemical test so there is no BAC reading. DWAI by Drugs in New York is defined as operating as “operate[ing] a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate such a motor vehicle is impaired by the use of a drug.” Finally DWAI Drugs and Alcohol is the combined influence of drugs and alcohol.
All DWI misdemeanor crimes in New York are punished by up to 1 year in jail, a period of license suspension or revocation, a program to address driving while intoxicated, a monetary fine and an ignition interlock device on all cars owned or operated by the person for a period of time. For people who are arrested for DWI with no prior arrest record, it is possible for a defense attorney to negotiate a non-criminal plea bargain. It depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Felony DWI in New York is either charged when a person has a prior DWI conviction in any state in the last 10 years or with Leandra’s Law, when a child of 15 or younger is present in a car and person commits DWI. Felony DWI is a class E felony and is punished by 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison and, like misdemeanor DWI, fines, suspension/revocations, a program and ignition interlock devices.
You can learn more about DWI laws in New York here: http://stengellaw.com/dwi-lawyer-nyc/
Former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Andrew M. Stengel provides aggressive representation for misdemeanors and felonies in New York City, Westchester, Nassau and the surrounding counties.
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